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FROM 1660 TO 1833 



An Examination of some Prevalent Opinions 
Crown 8vo, paper covers, is. net ; cloth, 15. 6d. net. 



by &U-Q.5fcnelUr-in tJie 






















IN the following chapters it is not intended to present to the 
reader a complete history of the Church of England from 
1660 to 1833. The aim in view is rather to draw attention 
to points that have been hitherto but little dealt with by 
writers, and thus remain unnoticed, and out of mind ; 
and especially to emphasize the existence in the period of 
practices and ideas in which it has been often assumed that 
the time was most wanting, but of which a great part of 
the period shows a marked persistence. The school of 
Hammond and Thorndike, Pearson and Wheatly, was 
influential over a far greater extent of time than is commonly 
thought. It is hoped that as a result of the investigation 
set out in these pages, reason may be seen for a revision of 
many of the popular opinions concerning our period, and the 
judgements that have come from many and very different 
quarters may prove in some cases to have been pronounced 
without sufficient historical foundation, and to be, perhaps, 
overbold and unbalanced 

Few things in history are more striking than the una 
nimity of writers in denunciation of our period. We are 
told that the eighteenth century was a time of "general 
decay of religion," of " a poisoning of the blood," or " a black 
spot on the shining history of England". The least in 
jurious reproaches are accusations of slovenliness, sloth, 
" marasmus," and on the part of the clergy of attention only 
to fees and preferment. Some of these attacks have been 
made by men belonging to the Church of England, made, 

viii PREFACE. 

most likely, in good faith, but of late to be traced to a mere 
following of the multitude and of the prejudices and fashion 
of the day. Perhaps there was a leaning on the part of the 
writers of the nineteenth century and of the Victorian epoch 
to plume themselves on the supposed excellency of their own 
age, as an age of "progress," "enlightenment," etc. The 
lustre of the age in which they wrote would be heightened 
by darkening the age which went immediately before. 

The friends of the Church of England thus combining to 
blacken its history, it is not to be looked for that the Roman 
Catholic controversialist should be slow to take advantage of 
so promising a situation. The supporters of the Anglican 
establishment, he cries, "are just able here and there to lay 
their finger upon a single thread of orthodox testimony 
which absolutely invisible in the storm of the Reformation 
shines out for a moment among the Caroline divines, and 
then once again under Victoria". 1 

Attacked thus by his hereditary enemies, 2 the churchman 
may be glad of assistance in showing that something more 
than "a single thread" of orthodox testimony "shone out" 
for a moment in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, 
or that something better than a complete indifference to 
duties, or a gross neglect of them, prevailed from 1660 to 
1833. It may prove a hard saying to those who hug 
themselves in the belief that all virtue began in the nine 
teenth century, but it may still be true that men did their 
duty before the days of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart 

Such an attempt as this, to upset opinions widely held, 
must show good reason for its being. In the following 
pages, therefore, the writers of the period have been allowed 

1 H. Ignatius Dudley Ryder, Catholic Controversy, Burns and Oates, no date, tenth 
edition, conclusion, p. 256. 

2 " It had to confront the Roman authority, now turned into the most implacable and 
aggressive of deadly enemies." (R. W. Church, on Bishop Andrewes, in Pascal and 
other Sermons, Macmillan, 1896, p. 71.) 


to speak for themselves, and to express their own opinions 
and to give their own facts. This may be but a dull way of 
writing history ; it gives no opportunity for brilliant general 
izations, for drawing insecure deductions, or for showing off 
the fine style. The reader must be prepared for disjointed 
and clumsy work. Moreover, the work is frankly an attack 
on certain positions almost generally admitted, and thus not 
unnaturally a feeling of annoyance will arise, if Dr. Johnson's 
dictum be true that most men are unwilling to be taught. 
But a cold way of dealing with this subject may possibly 
be more satisfying and attractive to scholars than the 
eloquence of an advocate determined to see in the matter 
before him nothing but the view in which he has been 
brought up. 

It will perhaps be noticed that not only the influential 
authors of the period have been brought forward, but also 
the lesser, the almost forgotten writers and pamphleteers of 
the time, have been quoted ; evejn the evidence of play 
wrights and novelists has not been neglected. These latter 
writers bear witness to the spread of opinions below the 
leaders, and to their permanence and vogue among the 

All the material met with has not been presented. Con 
siderations of space have constantly been held in view ; but 
it is hoped that enough will have been placed before the 
reader to justify the position taken up at the beginning of 
this preface : that the influence of the school of Thorndike 
and Hammond lasted much longer into our period than is 
commonly allowed. 

It may be proper perhaps to say something of the causes 
which led me to take up what churchmen have so often been 
told is for them an unattractive field of study. By some 
chance there fell under my notice a copy of Paterson's 
Pietas Londinensis, a book which gives a record of the 
services in London churches in 1714. I remember then (it 
was before the end of the last century) being exhorted by 


the Rev. Albert Barff, whose parish of St. Giles' Cripple- 
gate is now mourning the loss of a devoted pastor, 
to look more closely into the history of the eighteenth 
century, where I might find something that would repay 
attention. Next, by the kindness of the Vicar of Bledlow, 
then the Rev. Stephen Pritchett, I became acquainted with 
the manuscript Inventory of the Parish Church of Bledlow, 
drawn up in 1783. This proved indeed worthy of attention 
and it was published about 1905 in the Transactions of the 
St. Pauls Ecclesiological Society. It confirmed Mr. Barffs 
opinion that the history of the eighteenth century was worth 
looking into by churchmen, in spite of all that Mr. Mark 
Pattison and many others may have said of it. 

But unless I had been encouraged to go on with this 
study by a dear friend, the Right Reverend William Edward 
Collins, Bishop of Gibraltar, now with God, I doubt if the 
grace of perseverance would have been given me. Had I 
not received his commendation for what I had begun I might 
easily have been dissuaded from continuing in the work by 
the greatness of the task and the feebleness of my own 
powers. The Rev. Dr. B. J. Kidd has added to his many 
acts of kindness another ; and he has given himself the more 
than usually troublesome work of reading and correcting 
some of the chapters in manuscript. Further, I have en 
joyed the immense advantage of the advice of the Rev. 
Henry Austin Wilson, of Magdalen College, Oxford, who 
undertook the laborious task of reading through the proofs, 
and has thus saved me from many an error and misjudgement. 
And Mr. T. Gambier- Parry, who daily gives me help in the 
Bodleian Library, has increased the obligations of the readers 
of this book to him by furnishing the elaborate index which 
I do not doubt they will find invaluable. With loan of 
books, help in libraries, and in many other ways, I have been 
encouraged by the Venerable the Archdeacon of Northamp 
ton ; the Rev. Douglas Macleane, Prebendary of Sarum ; 
the Rev. George Horner ; the Rev. Herbert Salter ; and 


the Rev. Claude Jenkins ; to all of whom I am glad of this 
opportunity of expressing my indebtedness. 

Lastly, I would offer my sincere thanks to Bodley's 
Librarian, Mr. Falconer Madan, for the facilities afforded in 
the reproduction of the portrait of Robert Nelson which 
forms the frontispiece to this present work. 


Feb. 20, 1914. 




SYMBOLS xviii 




Piety and Morality amongst the People 4 

The Old High Church School 10 

The Nonjurors 16 



Frequency of Eucharist 22 

Daily Celebration 25 

Weekly Celebration 30 

Monthly Communion 35 

Number of Communicants ........ 37 

Non-communicating Attendance 41 

Ceremonies in Worship 41 

Appendix on Use of Unexpected Words 45 


THE EUCHARIST (continued} . 48 

Early Celebrations 48 

Communion while Fasting ........ 50 

Mode of Communion ......... 56 

Devotional Use of Agnus Dei, etc 57 

Amen at Moment of Communion 61 

Mutual Salutation of Communicants ....... 63 

Reverence to Altar after Service 64 

Reservation of Eucharist 65 



Opinions held as to Eucharist ... .... 66 

The Eucharistic Sacrifice ......... 69 

Value of u Table Prayers " -75 



As Recommended by Authority ....... 79 

As Offered by the Clergy 87 

As Attended by the People ........ 94 

Tables showing the Hours of Daily Prayer in London and Westminster 108 

Appendix : Letter from a Gentleman of the Inns of Court complaining of 

the Mutilations of the Daily Service 1 1 1 


Return of Decency after 1 660 . . . . . . . . 1 20 

The Altar and its Furniture . . . . . . . .126 

Material of Altar 134 

Altar Frontals 136 

Altar Candlesticks . . . 1 39 

Branches ............ 144 

Use of Crosses, Pictures, etc 145 

Seats about Altar .......... 147 

Litany Desk ........... 149 

Chancel Screens . . . . . . . . . .149 

Separation of Sexes 1 50 

Church Building . . . . . . . . . .151 

Free and Open Churches . . . . . . . . .154 

Domestic Chapels . . . . . . . . . 155 

Oratories 156 

Appendix: Inventory of Bledlow at the Visitation in 1783 . . .160 



Baptism 164 

Respect to Betters 168 

Baring the Head in Church 171 

Exchange of Salutations 172 

Reverence made to the Altar . . . . . . . .173 

Bowing at the Sacred Name . . . . . . . .177 

Turning to the East at the Creed 173 

Turning to the East at Gloria Patri . . . . . . .177 

Gloria tibi Domine . 1 80 



Standing at the Gospel ... . .181 

Kneeling at Prayers . . .183 

Voluntaries during Service . 184 

Organs .185 

Music ... . .187 

Disturbing the Minister .189 

Sermons .... .189 

Unusual Practices . 193 

Funerals ..... . 195 

Appendix : Children's Service at Bath .... . 202 



Christmas ... ... . 203 

Epiphany ... 209 

Candlemas . . .211 

Lent . . 211 

Holy Week .... . ... 221 

Maundy Thursday 223 

Good Friday . . . 224 

Easter . 227 

Rogations 228 

Keeping of Sunday 232 

Appendices : The King's Maundy . . . 247 

Rogation Processions 249 



Discipline at the Beginning of Lent .... . 252 

Degradation of Clergymen 254 

Excommunication 257 

Public Penance before 1813 259 

Private Confession practised by Individuals ..... 263 

Private Confession recommended in Books of Devotion . . . 267 

Private Confession recommended by Divines 270 

Confessor to the King's Household 276 

Appendix : Cases of Public Penance 278 



Life in Community .281 

Guilds . . . . . . . . . . . .291 

The Oxford Methodists 297 

The Truro Religious Society 299 



Societies for the Reformation of Manners . . . 301 

S.P.C.K. and S.P.G., etc .... 303 

Theological Colleges .......... 304 

Appendix : Rules of Dr. Horneck's Religious Society .... 308 

Rules of the Religious Society at St. Giles' Cripplegate . . . 309 




Invocation of Saints and Angels . . . . . . -333 


Popular Books of Prayer . . . . . . . . -338 

Prayers in Manuscript ......... 342 

Practice of adapting Roman Catholic Prayer Books . . . -345 



WORN 351 

Dr. Theophilus Leigh's " Distinctive Vestment " .361 

The Cope . .369 

The Alb . 373 

The Surplice . 374 

Outdoor Dress . . . 378 



Constitution of the Church ........ 390 




Attempted Reconciliation with Greeks 394 

Correspondence with Calvinists ........ 402 

Correspondence with Lutherans ........ 404 

Attempts at Reunion with the West .... . . 406 

INDEX 420 


Front the painting by Sir G. Kneller in the Bodleian Library ', Oxford. 


1683 = [T. Seymour] Advice to the Readers of the Common Prayer, second 

edition, 1683. 
1692 = A single sheet folio, second edition, Samuel Keble, 1692. Press Mark 

in the British Museum : 491, k. 4. (u). 
1 708 = A New View of London, published in two volumes in 1 708, said to have 

been edited by Edward Hatton. The first volume was printed for R. Chis- 

well, A. and J. Churchill, T. Home, J. Nicholson, and R. Knaplock. The 

second volume for John Nicholson and R. Knaplock. 
1714 = James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Joseph Downing for 

William Taylor, 1714. 

1824 = London Parishes, London, Jeffery, 1824. 
D.N.B. = Leslie Stephen, Dictionary of National Biography, London, Smith 

Elder, 1885. 
Epitome = Dictionary of National Biography, Index and Epitome, edited by 

Sidney Lee, London, Smith Elder, 1906. 
N.E.D. = A new English Dictionary on historical principles, ed. by James A. 

H. Murray, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1888 

An obelus (t) after a word indicates that it is reproduced exactly as written or 



Catalogue (spoken of chiefly in Chapter IX.) = Either British Museum or Bod 
leian catalogue of printed books, as now in use. 
Canons of 1604 = Edward Cardwell, Synodalia, Oxford, 1842, vol. i. pp. 164 

and 248. 
Evelyn (John), Diary of John Evelyn, Esq., ed. W. Brag and Henry B. 

Wheatley, London, Bickers, 1879, m f ur volumes. 
Fielding (Henry), Works, ed. Murphy and Browne, London, Bickers, 1871, in 

ten volumes. 

Goldsmith (Oliver), Works, Globe ed., Macmillan, 1869. 
Johnson (Samuel), BosweWs Life of Johnson and Tour to the Hebrides, ed. by 

George Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1887, in six volumes. 

- Works, in fifteen volumes, Edinburgh, 1806. 
Lake (Edward), Officium Eucharisticum a preparatory service to a Devout and 

Worthy Reception of the Lord's Supper, Sixth Edition, London, Chr. 

Wilkinson, 1681. Imprimatur is dated 1673. 
Paterson (James), Pietas Londinensis : or, the present ecclesiastical state of 

London, London, W. Taylor, 1714. 

Pope (Alexander), Poetical Works, Globe ed., A. W. Ward, 1869. 
Pepys = Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, ed. Braybrooke and 

Mynors Bright, London, Bickers, 1875, in six volumes. 

The references are in most cases to the dates of the diary. 
Sparrow (Anthony), A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer, London, 

Garthwait, 1661. 16. 
Spectator = The Spectator, London, Tonson and Draper, 1747, in eight 

volumes, 8 . 
Swift (Jonathan), Works, ed. Sir Walter Scott, Edinburgh, Constable, 1814, in 

nineteen volumes. 



MR. MARK PATTISON opens his essay on the tendency of relig 
ious thought in England from 1688 to 1750 with a quotation from 
Hallam. Material prosperity, says this latter writer, had never 
been greater in England than in the first years of the eighteenth 
century. Upon this Mr. Pattison remarks : 

This is the aspect which that period of history wears to the political 
philosopher. The historian of moral and religious progress, on the other 
hand, is under the necessity of depicting the same period as one of decay 
of religion, licentiousness of morals, public corruption, profaneness of lang 
uage a day of ' rebuke and blasphemy '. Even those who look with suspi 
cion on the contemporary complaints from the Jacobite clergy of * decay of 
religion' will not hesitate to say that it was an age destitute of depth or 
earnestness ; an age whose poetry was without romance, whose philosophy 
was without insight, and whose public men were without character ; an age 
of ' light without love,' whose ' very merits were of the earth, earthy '. In 
this estimate the followers of Mill and Carlyle will agree with those of 

Dr. Newman. 

* * * 

It is especially since the High Church movement commenced that the 
theology of the i8th century has become a byeword. The genuine 
Anglican omits that period from the history of the Church altogether. 1 

It is satisfactory to find that material prosperity is not the very 
guide of life ; but it must be owned that a careful reading of Mr. 
Mark Pattison's essay does not discover the grounds which he had 
for attributing to the first half of the eighteenth century " decay of 
religion, licentiousness of morals, public corruption, profaneness of 
language". It is unlucky that Deism, Socinianism, what is called 
Latitudinarianism, should have been also during this period, accord 
ing to Mr. Pattison, equally predominant. A rash speculator upon 
Mr. Pattison's premises might be tempted to see cause and effect 
in Latitudinarianism and a low state of morals. 

1 Mark Pattison, Essays and Reviews, London, John W. Parker, 1860, p. 254. 



We must then look elsewhere than in Mr. Mark Pattison's essay for 
the evidence which has led so many to declare our period to be the 
age of irreligion. He makes indeed a confession towards the end of 
his essay which does much to nullify his charge of decay of religion 
or rejection of Christianity. Outside the circle of ministers and 
privy councillors, politicians and parlia-ment-men, he owns that 
Christianity had still a firm hold upon people. 

However a loose kind of Deism might be the tone of fashionable 
circles, it is clear that distinct disbelief of Christianity was by no means 
the general state of the public mind. The leaders of the Low-church 
and Whig party were quite aware of this. Notwithstanding the universal 
complaints of the High-church party of the prevalence of infidelity, 
it is obvious that this mode of thinking was confined to a very small 
section of society. 1 

Agreeable to this view is the following passage from Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu. 

At this very minute there is a bill cooking up at a hunting seat in 
Norfolk to have not taken out of the commandments and clapped into the 
creed, the ensuing season of parliament. This bold attempt for the 
liberty of the subject is wholly projected by Mr. Walpole, who proposed it 
to the secret committee in his parlour. William Yonge seconded it, and 
answered for all his acquaintance voting right to a man. Dodington very 
gravely objected, that the obstinacy of human nature was such that he 
feared when they had positive commands to do so, perhaps people would 
not commit adultery and bear false witness against their neighbours with the 
readiness and cheerfulness they do at present. 2 

Montesquieu has been claimed as a witness for the entire dis 
appearance of religion ; but it must be remembered that when in 
England he associated only with politicians. His companion in 
England was Lord Chesterfield, who is not likely to have led him 
into the classes outside politicians. Indeed his remarks seem to 
deal only with members of parliament. Thus he says : 

Point de religion en Angleterre ; quatre ou cinq de la Chambre des 
communes vont a la messe ou au sermon de la chambre, excepte dans les 
grandes occasions, ou 1'on arrive de bonne heure. Si quelqu' un parle de 
religion, tout le monde se met a rire. 3 

His evidence must be received with a considerable amount of 
doubt whether he had a deep or thorough acquaintance with the 

1 Mark Pattison, Essays and Reviews, p. 313. 

z Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her times, London, Methuen, 1907, p. 315. 
3 Montesquieu, Oeuvres completes, ed. Ed. Laboulaye, Paris, 1879, t. vii. Notes sur 
1' Angleterre, p. 195. 


opinions of the great majority of Englishmen ; and it may be re 
garded accordingly. 

It is not fair to an age to take its politicians as its repre 
sentatives in morals. Politicians are but ill examples of the better 
sort of men. The history of Athens and Rome may teach us that 
an Aristides or a Cato cannot be looked for in every generation, 
while characters like Sir Robert Walpole, or Lord Chesterfield, or 
inventors of "terminological inexactitudes" abound in all times. 
Politics must be like pitch, not to be handled without defilement. 

Mr. Huxley, with something of the self-satisfaction of the 
nineteenth century, has remarked its superiority to the eighteenth, 
so that nowadays 

Women of good repute do not gamble, and talk modelled upon Dean 
Swift's "Art of Polite Conversation" would be tolerated in no decent 
kitchen. Members of the legislature are not to be bought. 1 

Mr. Huxley did not live into the twentieth century, or he would 
not have affirmed the first sentence of this paragraph ; and an almost 
exact reproduction of Swift's Polite Conversation was heard at the 
moment that Mr. Huxley was writing his address. I trust it is true 
that members of the legislature are not to be bought ; but * a Political 
Agent ' has let us into some of the secrets of electioneering ; both 
political parties, he tells us, are so deeply involved that neither dares 
accuse the other. 2 

Varying views may be taken in different ages. Some may see 
decivilisation where others see progress. In the present age, 
thought and action flow in an anti-christian stream. A distinguished 
Oxford historian has told us that he has not the heart to continue the 
history of his country after the battle of Waterloo ; and a Chancellor 
of a University, who has also held great offices under the Crown, 
laments the rusticity and want of manners prevalent in the present 
day. In fact it is hopeless to look for certainty or finality in human 
affairs. Human opinion is like a huge pendulum, which swings 
slowly backwards and forwards, but never continues in one stay. A 
hundred years ago who would have thought that the proof of the 
proposition that the three internal angles of a triangle are together 
equal to two right angles could be shown to be unsatisfactory? or 
that the doctrine of gravitation required to be " restated" ? 

J T. H. Huxley, Science and Culture, Macmillan, 1882, p. 124. 
9 Some Experiences of a Political Agent, Mills & Boon, 1910. 



Perhaps we may be allowed to suspect that things between 1688 
and 1750 were not so wholly bad as the morbid mind of the chief 
founder of thought in modern Oxford has suggested. Fielding 
does not look upon the world from precisely the same point of view as 
Richardson, yet Fielding and Richardson bear testimony as follows. 
Fielding says : 

I am convinced there never was less of love intrigue carried on among 
persons of condition than now. 1 

And Richardson in a Rambler (No. 97) often attributed to him 
and which bears internal evidence of this suggestion, praises the 
age of the Spectator for virtue in both sexes. Churches, he says, 
were then almost the only places where single women were to be 
seen by strangers. 

In the time of the Spectator, excepting sometimes an appearance in the 
Ring, sometimes at a good and chosen play, sometimes on a visit at the 
house of a grave relation, the young ladies contented themselves to be 
found employed in domestick duties ; for then routs, drums, balls, assem 
blies, and such like markets for women, were not known. 

If we pass into the latter half of the eighteenth century, Mr. 
Pattison describes the years from 1750 to 1830 as "an age whose 
literature consisted in writing Latin hexameters". 2 But we have 
heard of Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, and later on, of Charles Lamb 
and Sir Walter Scott. There must be few indeed who would not 
be proud to have written as these writers have done, and to have 
left behind them so clear a record, free from all charge of encourag 
ing evil. A strict moralist could find in them little or nothing to 
blame, and yet they were welcomed by an age which could hardly 
have been depraved if it found recreation and delight in writings 
so wholesome and innocent. Again, the Essayists in the Spectator 
claim that they have given " no fashionable Touches of Infidelity, no 
obscene Ideas, no Satires upon Priesthood, Marriage, and the like 
popular Topicks of Ridicule ". 3 And yet the sale of the Spectator 
was very great. So with the Guardian. Johnson's essays in the 
Rambler, the Idler, the Adventurer were greeted at the time of 

1 Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Book XIV. ch. i. Works, ed. Murphy & Browne, 
London, Bickers, 1871, vol. vii. p. 263. 

2 Mark Pattison, op. cit. p. 261. 

3 Spectator, No. 262, Monday, December 31, 1711. 


their appearance for possessing the impress of a great teacher of 
morals. They also had a large circulation, and were widely read. 
At the end of the last Rambler Johnson makes much the same 
claim as the Spectator to innocence of language and thought. 
Is this consistent with the statement that the eighteenth century is 
"one of decay of religion, licentiousness of morals, public corruption, 
profaneness of language," 1 more than in those times which went be 
fore it or came after it ? 

Evidence in the same direction is given by the large number of 
books of devotion printed in the early part of our period and 
throughout the eighteenth century ; edition after edition comes out 
of such works as the Whole Duty of Man, a Week's Preparation, 
Nelson's Companion for the Festivals and Fasts, Lake's Officium 
Eiicharisticum, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, William 
Law's Serious Call? Booksellers do not risk their money on such 
publications unless there be a fair' chance of a return. 

If, as Mr. Pattison would have us believe, the age were irredeem 
ably bad, why did Tillotson's Sermons which dealt chiefly with 
morals have so great a sale? An age which spends its money 
upon the purchase of prayer books and collections of sermons is 
not likely to be so lost to all sense of shame and decency as Mr. 
Pattison would represent. And at the present time if we had a 
literary dictator like Dr. Johnson, is it likely that he would be able 
to criticise off-hand, as Johnson did, 3 the best Sermons of his time? 
He held them to be "a considerable branch of English literature so 
that a library must be very imperfect if it has not a numerous col 
lection of sermons ". 4 Private libraries are not formed nowadays ; 
and if they were, how many sermons would be found in the cata 
logue ? And a writer of the present age bids us note that 

Every one who looks at an English country-house library is struck by the 
abundant provision of sermons, mainly collected, like everything else in 
deed, in the eighteenth century. And every reader of Boswell's Johnson 
has been impressed by the frequent recurrence of devotional and religious 
books in the literary talk of the day, and, what is perhaps more remarkable, 
by the fact that wherever Boswell and Johnson go they constantly find 
volumes of sermons lying about, not only in the private houses, but also 
in the inns where they stay. 5 

1 See Mark Pattison, above, p. i. 

2 See below in chapter xi. for an account of those most in vogue. 
s Bosweirs Life of Johnson, April 7, 1778. 4 Ibid. May 8, 1781. 

5 John Bailey, Dr. Johnson and his circle, Home University Library [? 1913], p. 
27, ch. i. 


But if the support given to good writers and to books of piety 
be not sufficient testimony to the character of the age, it may per 
haps be allowed to point to the work done in the cause of popular 
education throughout the eighteenth century. Mr. Pattison might 
very well be expected to join in approval of this attempt to edu 
cate and thus to raise the lower classes. It is quite fair to suppose 
that education would have been to him a sacred cause. It is true 
that the charity schools of the period only taught as best they 
could the rudiments of education, to read, write, and cypher. It 
does not matter if the motives attributed to the founders of these 
charity schools be misunderstood and that " there is in all alike 
evinced more of patronage than of sympathy". 1 The main aim 
certainly was to bring up the children in the practice of the 
Christian Religion, and thus to diminish vice and immorality in 
the land, a result which might not be displeasing even to a writer 
in the Westminster Review, though the founders of charity schools 
certainly did not look forward to the time when the name of God 
should never be mentioned in their schools, as the practice is in the 
State-supported schools of France at the present day. 

It was indeed a great work, a credit to any century, to have 
built up out of nothing a system of elementary schools stretching 
into very nearly every parish in England and Wales, and not merely 
to have spread this network over the land but to have kept it 
working throughout the century, and beyond. 

There is another claim that may be made in favour of the eigh 
teenth century : the establishment of the two great Church Societies, 
the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge and the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts. These two 
Societies were founded one immediately before, the other immedi 
ately after, the year 1 700. And once set on foot, they continued 
their work all through the eighteenth century, so that they neither 
wanted funds nor men with which to carry on what was begun. 
An age steeped in vice and indifference would never have steadfastly 
gone on with the charity schools and the great societies, even if 
perchance it had found them ready to its hand. 

There can be" little doubt that Walpole and the Whigs did do 

1 Westminster Review, 1873, vol. xliii. N.S. p. 454, in an article on Charity Schools. 
The Religious Societies in England were great supporters of charity schools. A glance 
at the occupations of members in ch. ix. p. 295, will show that they came from the same 
class that charity schools were to benefit. 


the best by their appointments to the higher offices of the Church, 
intentionally or by force of circumstances, to promote a degradation 
of faith and morals. Their bishops were so taken up with proclaim 
ing the Whig dogma of civil and religious liberty that they had no 
time for preaching the Gospel. Had the Apostles been Broad- 
Churchmen the world would never have been converted. The 
hope of accumulating a great fortune, and leaving a fine estate, 
as in the notorious case of Watson, also filled their minds. This 
design to injure Christianity was perceived by the public in Hoadly's 
promotions. A journalist writes : 

I believe, the best Method that could be found, to plant Infidelity in 
a Nation, would be to bring immoral Men into the upper Dignities of a 
National Church. If we should see a Prelate grasping after Pluralities, 
spend his Time in cringing to the Great, in Hopes of a good Translation, 
and resigning all his Interest in Heaven, in order to get an exorbitant 
Interest for his Money here upon Earth, if we should see him entring into 
Projects with Usurers and Stockjobbers, and mount into a pulpit, perhaps, 
once a Year, to preach, and use these Words of our Saviour, My Kingdom 
is not of this World, would not the Indignation of the People be provoked 
against so impudent an Impostor ? * 

Hoadly was not respected even by those who gave him pro 
motion, such as King George the Second. 2 

The antagonism between the Whig and the Churchman is dis 
closed by the Spectator who makes the Hen-peck't husband com 
plain that 

tho' I am one of the warmest Churchmen in the Kingdom, I am 
forced to rail at the Times, because she [the wife] is a violent Whig. 3 

The gluttony at the Whig episcopal tables must have been 
disgusting. Thomas Pyle has left us some account of Hoadly's 
manner of living in 1752 at Winchester House, Chelsea. 

Such easiness, such plenty, & treatment so liberal, was never my lot 
before, and if God gives me health you can't think of a happier man. 

The danger I apprehend most is from the table, which is both plenti 
ful & elegant. But I think I shall by use, not be in more peril from my 
Lord's ten dishes than I was formerly from my own two, for I begin 

1 Select Letters taken from Fog's Weekly Journal, London, 1732, vol. ii. p. 182. 

2 See the savage opinion of him expressed by the King in 1735. (John, Lord Hervey, 
Memoirs of the Reign of George II. London, John Murray, 1848, ed. J. W. Croker, 
vol. ii. p. 47.) 

3 Spectator, No. 176, Friday, September 21, 1711. 


already to find that a fine dinner every day is not such a perpetual tempta 
tion as I thought it would be. 1 

Mrs. Montagu says of the sumptuous fare of an Archbishop of 
York, Dr. John Gilbert, who died in 1761, that he " feeds more like 
a pig of Epicurus than the head of a Christian Church ". 2 

For this gluttony they had not even the excuse of being teeto 
tallers, who are commonly gross feeders, by way of compensation 
for the loss of other stimulant. 

An unenviable memory of both Hoadly and Gilbert has been 
preserved in the Dunciad^ the former directly, the latter from the 
explanation of the commentators. Hoadly has a couple of lines to 
himself, as receiving the homage of two notorious freethinkers : 

Toland and Tindal, prompt at priests to jeer, 
Yet silent bow'd to Christ's No Kingdom here? 

While Gilbert is complimented on the extreme dulness of his 
sermons which compels a yawn : 

Churches and Chapels instantly it reached ; 
St. James's first, for leaden Gilbert preach'd. 4 

It is admitted that Gilbert had few or no qualifications for his 
high office. 5 

The complete indifference to religion, which some writers would 
have us believe was spread over all England in the first half of the 
eighteenth century, is tested by what is known as the Bangorian 
controversy. This resistance to Hoadly has left an indelible 
mark upon English letters. Against Hoadly the wrath of Church 
men burst forth in a flood of pamphlets, 6 eagerly bought up. The 
pamphlet of Dr. Andrew Snape went through some fifteen editions 
at least on its first appearance. Above all others, William Law up 
held Church principles in such a way that Hoadly durst not attempt 
to answer him. Dr. Thomas Sherlock suggests that there can be 

1 Albert Hartshorne, Memoirs of a Royal Chaplain, London, John Lane, 1905, 
Letter lix. p. 178. The whole letter may be read as giving some idea of the tone of the 
circle in which it is written. 

2 Elizabeth Montagu, The Queen of the Bluestockings, ed. Emily J. Climenson, 
Murray, 1906, vol. ii. p. 191. 

3 A. Pope, Dunciad, Book ii. line 400. 4 ibid. Book iv. line 608. 

5 See D.N.B. under John Gilbert. 

6 There is an enormous bibliography in the folio edition of Benjamin Hoadly's Works. 
(London, Horsfield, 1773, vol. ii. p. 379.) 


but one good reason why Hoadly did not answer Law : because 
that he could not. 

When the controversy was at its height the excitement in the 
City was so great that it is said business was at a standstill. 1 This 
should be noticed, for it is inconsistent with the assumption that 
the age in which such strong feeling was expressed was an age of 
indifference to all religious opinions and practices. The present 
age would hardly feel so much upon a matter of doctrine. 

White Kennett, the friend and champion of Hoadly, writing in 
1716 soon after the accession of King George the First to some 
correspondent in America, confesses that Church principles were 
extraordinarily widespread. He complains that : 

before those civil Wars, none ran into those Notions but some of the 
warmer and ambitious Clergy ; whereas now the common People and the 
very Women had their Heads full of them. 2 

Herring, Archbishop of York and later of Canterbury, belongs 
to the same class as Hoadly and Kennett. Swift speaks of him in 
these words : " so stupid, so injudicious, and so prostitute a divine ". 3 
Dom Prosper Gueranger says of Antoine Malvin de Montazet, that 
with him heresy sat in the metropolitical chair of Lyons ; 4 it may 
also be said that with Herring heresy sat in the primatial chair of 
Canterbury. The following letter of his to the Dean of Canterbury 
may enable us to form some judgement of the character of the 

.i. Archbishop Herring to the Dean of Canterbury. 

Dear Mr Dean. 

I had a Request communicated to me to Day of a very singular 
Nature : and it comes from the Ambassador of a great Catholic Prince. 
Arch Bishop Anselm, it seems, lies buried in our Cathedral and the King 
of Sardinia has a great Desire to be possess'd of his Bones, or Dust & Coffin. 
It seems he was of the Country of Oost, [read Aosta] the Bishop of which 
has put this Desire into the King's Head, who, by the by, is a most pro 
digious Bigot, and in a late Dispute with Geneva gave up Territory to redeem 
an old Church. You will please to consider this Request with your Friends 

1 Leslie Stephen, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, x. 31, 
Smith Elder & Co., 1902, 3rd ed. vol. ii. p. 156. 

2 The life of the Right Reverend Dr. White Kennett, London, Billingsley, 1730, 
p. 125. 

3 Jonathan Swift, Intelligencer, No. III. in Works, ed. Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 
1814, vol. ix. p. 298. 

4 P. Gueranger, Institutions liturgiques, ch. xxiii. Le Mans and Paris, 1841, t. ii. 
p. 569. 


but not yet capitularly. You will believe I have no great Scruples on this 
Head, but if I had I would get rid of them all if the parting with the rotten 
Remains of a rebel to his King, a Slave to the Popedom & an Enemy 
to the married Clergy (all this Anselm was) would purchase Ease and Indul 
gence to one living Protestant. It is believed, that a Condescension in 
this Business may facilitate the way of doing it to thousands. I think it 
is worth the Experiment, & really for this End, I should make no Con 
science of palming on the Simpletons any other old Bishop with the Name 
of Anselm. 

I pray God send you and yours many happy new Years . . . 

Your affectionate Friend. [T. Cant.] 

Lambeth House 

Dec r . 23, 1752.! 

But England had no monopoly of indifferent bishops. If we 
look across the Channel, the eighteenth century bishops in France 
were not all of them models of sanctity. There are Cardinal Dubois, 
Archbishop of Cambray ; Francis de Harlay, Archbishop of 
Paris ; Arthur Dillon, Archbishop of Narbonne ; Maurice de 
Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun ; though it is our duty to remember 
" Marseille's good bishop," Monseigneur de Belsunce, and his de 
votion to his flock in the plague-stricken city. 


That there were bad clergymen in the eighteenth century no one 
is prepared to deny. That they were all bad is another proposition 
which can be readily refuted. But it is, nevertheless, a welcome 
change to turn from the consideration of characters like Burnet, 2 
or Hoadly, or Herring, or Watson, and to speak of the more admir 
able characters among the clergy and laity of our period. Some 
will be remembered as long as the English Church shall last. Such 
were Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, the confessor 
fined and imprisoned by the civil power for his maintenance of 
Church discipline, though it is only fair to add that King George 
the First ordered his release, offered him the Bishopric of Exeter 

1 Report on Manuscripts in Various Collections, vol. i. Historical Manuscripts 
Commission, 1901, p. 226. 

2 Burnet's inaccuracy was detected in his own time. He is coupled with another 
unsatisfactory Episcopal character, the Coadjutor of Paris. " I leave those ecclesiastical 
heroes of their own romances De Retz and Burnet." (John, Lord Hervey, Memoirs 
of the Reign of George II. , edited by J. W. Croker, London, John Murray, 1848, vol. i. 
P. 3.) 


as compensation, and wished to pay his law expenses from his privy 
purse. 1 

Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, the philosopher who beat 
back the attacks of the Deists upon the Christian position, will be 
remembered so long as man is a rational animal. 

George Berkeley was another Christian philosopher, Bishop ot 
Cloyne in Ireland, of whom Atterbury said : 

So much understanding, so much knowledge, so much innocence, and 
such humility, I did not think had been the portion of any but angels, 
'till I saw this gentleman. 2 

Pope says of Berkeley, in the epilogue to his Satires when he 
would not, it might be supposed, be in a complimentary humour : 

Manners with Candour are to Benson giv'n, 
To Berkeley, ev'ry Virtue under Heav'n. 3 

While Swift speaks of him as indifferent to all that the common 
man holds most dear : 

He is an absolute philosopher with regard to money, titles, and power. 4 

Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, one of our very best 
Church historians, is not to be forgotten. With him, though not a 
bishop, deserves to be commemorated that wonderful young man, 
Henry Wharton, whose early death deprived the Church of Eng 
land of so much knowledge. 

But of course the High Churchmen were called names. Hor 
ace Walpole talks of " Seeker, the Jesuitical bishop of Oxford," 
and compares him with " Sherlock who has much better sense, and 
much less of the popish confessor". 5 And to show how very like 
the abuse of one century is to that of another, it may be well to 
quote the following lines which might be readily equalled from the 
speeches or pamphlets delivered against the Tractarians in their 
early days. 

For this, Seditious Spirits in disguise 

Swarm in the Church, tho' they that Church despise : 

1 Thomas Wilson, Works, ed. C. Cruttwell, 2nd ed. 1782, London, Dilly, vol. i. 
PP- 29, 32. 

2 See a note in John Hughes, Letters by Several Eminent Persons deceased, 
London, J. Johnson, 1772, vol. ii. p. 3, note. 

3 A. Pope, Epilogue to the Satires, Dialogue II. line 72. 

4 Works of George Berkeley, ed. A. C. Eraser, Oxford, 1901, vol. iv. p. 344. 

5 Letters of Horace Walpole . . . to Sir Horace Mann, London, 1833, 2nd ed. 
vol. ii. p. 353, April 2, 1750. 


Loudly they boast her Ancient Rights and Fame, 

Whilst underhand they play a Popish Game. 

The Seed of Loyola with Artful Pains 

First fixt this High-Church Poyson in our Veins, 

Infecting too, too many of our Youth, 

Who, blindly led, fell from the Cause of Truth. 1 

William Jones of Nayland who died in 1800, William Stevens, 
a layman, who died in 1807, and Dr. George Home, Bishop of 
Norwich, who died in 1792, form a group of eminent Churchmen 
who should always be remembered for their maintenance of 
Church principles. Jones of Nayland was most active in his en 
deavour to diffuse Church teaching through the press. His works, 
collected after his death by his friend William Stevens, run to 
twelve volumes octavo. 

About 1792 he formed a short-lived Society for the Reformation of 
Principles by appropriate literature. Its only results were the foundation 
of the * British Critic,' of which, however, Jones was neither editor nor con 
tributor, and the publication of a collection of tracts called * The Scholar 
Armed against the Errors of the Time' (1792) which is still of use to 
young students of divinity. 2 

It passed through several editions and it contained Law's un 
answerable letters to Hoadly, Charles Leslie's tracts, and other 
valuable matter. 

Much at the same time we may notice the activities of Dr. 
Samuel Horsley, Bishop successively of St. David's, Rochester, and 
St. Asaph. His churchmanship is well known and he warmly com 
mended the Scottish Liturgy of 1764 which has the reputation of 
being the best liturgy in the English language. There is also con 
temporary with the Bishop, Dr. Charles Daubeny, Archdeacon of 
Salisbury in 1803, who was much interested in the prosperity of 
the Scottish Episcopal Church. He maintained the doctrine that 
the Church was a society founded by Our Lord and possessed all 
his authority. Protesting against a book of the Evangelical Calvin- 
istic School he says that Mr. Overton should have called his book 

An Apology for those Regular Clergy of the Establishment, who main 
tain the Articles of the Church of England to be Calvinistic, in opposition 
to the great body of the Clergy who do not see them in that light. 3 

1 The Seditious Insects : or, the Levellers assembled in Convocation, London, 
Bragg, 1708, p. 7. 

a JD JVJ3. under William Jones of Nayland. 

3 Charles Daubeny, Vindicice Ecclesice Anglicana, London, 1803, p. viii. 


He claims that the bulk ot the English Clergy are not Calvinists. 

John Randolph, Bishop of London, did a great service to the 
Church by his assistance in founding the National Society in 1811. 

Dr. Thomas Sikes, who took his degree from Pembroke College, 
Oxford, in 1788, was brought over from Evangelicalism by the 
study of Thorndike and was " especially regarded by Pusey as a 
precursor of the Oxford movement ", 1 With Sikes, Norris of Hack 
ney should be associated, and be remembered for his share in 
founding the National Society. 

Charles Lloyd, Bishop of Oxford, who died in 1829, laid the 
foundation of the liturgical school which is now so flourishing in 
the Church of England. I have been sometimes tempted to think 
that he was the editor of the 1818 reprint of the first Edwardine 
Communion Office. It might have been put out for the use of his 
pupils. In 1829 it is suggested by William Dealtry that Liturgies 
being so ancient in the Church of Christ it is highly probable that 
the original forms were delivered to the several churches by the 
apostles. 2 And as early as 1795 the sources of the Prayer Book in 
the ancient Liturgies were well understood. 

The first edition of Sir William Palmer's book, Origines Litur- 
gicce, was published during our period, in 1832, and its influence was 
immediately felt, for it is perceptible in Montagu Robert Melville's 
project for a reformed book of Common Prayer, published in 1834. 
This latter recommends the revival of oil for the sick, non-communi 
cating attendance, preaching in the surplice, copes in parish churches, 
and he gives other directions on unimportant points, that might 
perhaps have been spared. 

Of the laymen of our period, we may well be proud. We can 
count up Hamon L'estrange, John Evelyn, Robert Boyle, Robert 
Nelson, John Byrom, Samuel Johnson, William Stevens, Alexander 
Knox, Joshua Watson, William Wordsworth. 

There are two works, distinctly orthodox and catholic, which from 
the moment of their appearance have been welcomed by Churchmen 
as conveying the true teaching of the Church of England on 
Divinity and Liturgy. One is Pearson on the Creed, the other is 
Wheatly's Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer. 
These have gone through edition after edition, which fact is no 

P- 257 

1 H. P. Liddon, Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Longmans, 1893, 2nd ed. vol. i. 

2 William Dealtry, The Excellence of the Liturgy, London, Hatchard, 1829, p. 22. 


small testimony to their value in the eyes of Church people. Should 
anyone deny that the tone prevailing in the Church of England 
was orthodox, he can be answered by pointing to the insistence by 
bishops on the study of these manuals as preparation for orders. 

Pearson on the Creed was issued in 1659 and from the day of 
its publication it has been reckoned the soundest exposition of the 
faith of the Church of England. It has been the manual which ex 
aminers have placed in the hands of candidates for the priesthood 
throughout our period. In the same way, Wheatly was the text 
book recommended on the Book of Common Prayer and Liturgies. 

Besides the British Critic, the periodicals supported by Church 
men at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth 
centuries were not wanting in a good tone. The Orthodox Church- 
mans Magazine will be quoted below as approving of prayers for 
the faithful departed, the keeping of Lent and of Fridays, the arrange 
ment of churches as followed in ancient times, 1 and the like. The 
Anti-jacobin Review praises a writer because 

His ideas of Church government are founded on the ecclesiastical 
polity of Hooker ; and his belief in the Saviour of the World corresponds 
with the catholic faith of George Bull. 2 

And a preacher who at the consecration of a church warned his 
hearers against any superstitious reverence for places of worship 
is criticised thus : 

If this could be proved, we presume that, by parity of reason, it could 
also be proved, that the consecration of the elements in our two sacra 
ments, the imposition of the Bishop's hands in confirmation and ordin 
ation, the deep and interesting circumstances of absolution and benediction, 
whatever was the case formerly, now pretend to no more than being 
merely the suggestions of human prudence. 3 

Much later than these was the British Magazine^ which first began 
as a periodical with a Church bias in 1832. 

Almost the last of the sound divines of our period was Martin 
Joseph Routh, who was president of Magdalen College, Oxford, from 
1791 till his death in 1854. To him Cardinal Newman, early in the 
Tractarian Movement and while he was still fierce against Rome, 
dedicated a book as to one " Who has been reserved to report to a 
forgetful generation what was the theology of their fathers". 4 

1 See below, pp. 331, 220, 148. * Anti-jacobin Review and Magazine, 1799, 

vol. i. p. 398. 3 ibid. 1799, vol. ii. p. 411. 

4 J. H. Newman, Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church, Rivingtons, 1837, 


Yet he was hardly separated by a generation from divines like 
Horsley, Home, Daubeny, and Jones of Nayland, and laymen like 
Joshua Watson and William Stevens, though their teaching seemed 
all forgotten by the officials in 1837. Very well could it be said 
that Routh was reserved "to a forgetful generation ". It was indeed 
a forgetful age, if not an ignorant one. Mr. Lathbury, dealing with 
the pronouncements made by the bishops during the Tractarian 
Movement, points out the disasters which their forgetfulness or 
worse, made them bring upon the Church. 

Unhappily, ignorance is a great provocative of speech, and the Bishops 
went on for three whole years delivering Charges which showed that they 
knew nothing of the great Anglican Divines, and very little of the Anglican 
Prayer Book. 1 

Of the state of the Church party as it was called at the end of 
our period we have the evidence of Dr. Church, the late Dean of St. 
Paul's, that in it was nothing effeminate, nothing fanatical, nothing 
foolish ; but it was manly. He writes : 

At the end of the first quarter of the century, say about 1825-30, two 
characteristic forms of Church of England Christianity were popularly re 
cognised. One inherited the traditions of a learned and sober Anglicanism, 
claiming as the authorities for its theology the great line of English divines 
from Hooker to Waterland, finding its patterns of devotion in Bishop 
Wilson, Bishop Home, and the " Whole Duty of Man," but not forgetful 
of Andrewes, Jeremy Taylor, and Ken preaching, without passion or ex 
citement, scholarlike, careful, wise, often vigorously reasoned discourses on 
the capital points of faith and morals, and exhibiting in its adherents, who 
were many and important, all the varieties of a great and far-descended 
school, which claimed for itself rightful possession of the ground which it 
held. There was nothing effeminate about it, as there was nothing fana 
tical; there was nothing extreme or foolish about it; it was a manly 
school. 2 

* * * 

The custom of daily service and even of fasting was kept up more 
widely than is commonly supposed. The Eucharist, though sparingly 
administered, and though it had been profaned by the operation of the 
Test Acts, was approached by religious people with deep reverence. 3 

Thus we come to the last years of our period, of which we have 
been so often told that it was the dark age of the Church of Eng 
land. Yet the outline drawn by the late Dean of St. Paul's is not 

1 D. C. Lathbury, Dean Church, 1905, ch. iv. p. 53. 

2 R. W. Church, The Oxford Movement, Macmillan, 1891, ch. i. p. 8. 

s ibid. p. 9. 


so gloomy. And there must have been, hidden away in manor 
houses and country rectories, much of the teaching of the divines 
of the Restoration. Thus we read that 

Of Keble himself it has been said that the highest praise which he 
seemed able to give to any theological statement was, " It seems to me 
just what my father taught me ".* 

And Pusey wrote : 

I was educated in the teaching of the Prayer Book. . . . The doct 
rine of the Real Presence I learnt from my mother's explanation of the 
Catechism, which she had learned to understand from older clergy. 2 


Amongst those who helped to carry on the teaching of the 
school of Thorndike and Hammond the Nonjurors must not be for 
gotten. They, and those who sympathised with them, may be 
reckoned under several headings. The great bulk of the people, as 
Dr. Johnson testifies, 3 were at heart with the King over the water, 
until the accession of King George the Third extinguished Jaco- 
bitism. But the people had not to take the oaths ; and so long as 
they lived peaceably and sought no office, they were not troubled. 
They attended the services of the Church of England without 

Some of the local newspapers contain announcements such as 
the following : 

On Sunday the 8th of last Month [1745] died, after a lingering illness, 
at his House in Oxford, Mr. Leake, a Gentleman of Nonjuring Principles, 
but a constant Attendant upon the Service of the Church of England. 4 

He would be a specimen of a class loyal to the Church of Eng 
land, but unable to swallow the extravagant oath of 1715. 

But those who were more active may be divided thus : 

i. A class who shamelessly took the oaths of allegiance to the 
Government, and then began immediately to practise against it. 
Of this Atterbury is a notorious example. 

ii. A class who refused the oaths, but continued to communicate 
at the altars of the Church of England. Such were Frampton, 

1 Walter Lock, John Keble, Methuen, 1893, p. 81. 

2 H. P. Liddon, Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Longmans, 1893, 2nd ed. vol. 
i. p. 7. 

*BoswelVs Life of Johnson, September 17, 1777. 
4 Bath Journal, 1745, vol. ii. 115. 


Ambrose Bonwicke, William Law. These I would call conforming 

iii. A class who refused the oaths and formed a separate com 
munion. These I have ventured to call Dissenting Nonjurors. 
Such were Hickes, Leslie, Spinckes, Collier, and Deacon. These 
must not be cited as witnesses to the teaching of the Church of 
England. But their writings and their practices had great influence 
on churchmen down to, and even beyond, the end of the century. 
For example, in the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine, Charles 
Leslie's works are warmly recommended, and the writer is happy 
to see that the works of Hickes and Leslie "are daily rising in 
value and are sought after with the greatest avidity ".* And in 
1832, just before the end of our period, the University of Oxford, 
then an integral part of the Church of England, republished the 
Theological Works of Charles Leslie, in seven volumes octavo. 
They were evidently highly thought of; for Dr. Home, Bishop of 
Norwich, is ready to allow that Leslie 

is said to have brought more persons, from other persuasions, into the 
Church of England, than any man ever did. 2 

And recommending books the same bishop says : 

The first shall be, the inimitable Mr. Leslie's Short and easy Method 
with the Deists? 

And Jones of Nayland speaks in much the same way : 

Many years ago, that excellent Controversialist, Mr. Charles Leslie, 
published his Short Method with the Deists* 

In the same strain a Dissenting Nonjuror asserts that Leslie's 
writings against the Quakers and Deists had brought many of these 
into the Church of England. 

And in that very Year was born the Reverend Mr. Charles Lesley, whom 
GOD was pleased to make His Instrument, immediately and mediately of 
Converting above 20,000 of them from Quakerism, Arianism, and Socin- 

1 Orthodox Churchman's Magazine, 1804, vol. vii. p. 37. 

2 George Home, The Duty of Contending for the Faith, S.P.C.K. 1787, new ed. 
p. 18, note. 

3 George Home, An Apology for certain Gentlemen in the University of Oxford, in 
Works, ed. by William Jones, London, Rivingtons, 1818, vol. iv. p. 179. 

4 William Jones of Nayland, A short way to truth: or the Christian Doctrine of a 
Trinity in Unity, in Works, Rivingtons, 1801, vol. i. p. 335. 

5 A letter . . . concerning the validity of Lay-Baptism, London, Minors, 1738, 
p. 47, by Philalethes, [who seems to be the Hon. Archibald Campbell]. 



This statement must be meant to apply to conversion to the 
Established Church ; for the members of the Dissenting Nonjuring 
communities, all added together, would not have reached anything 
like 20,000 in number. Deacon's congregation at Manchester 
was reckoned by Thomas Percival at " about twenty before the late 
Hurry," that is the rising of 1745, " and now perhaps not above 
sixty". 1 Also a sympathetic writer thinks it certain that it "never 
exceeded a few score ". 2 

Like his brother Bishop, Dr. Samuel Horsley recommends the 
works of " the celebrated Charles Leslie," 8 whom he classes with 

Hickes' Devotions passed through many editions until 1765, and 
the editor says he did not intend them for use in his own small 
community only. They must have been used largely by members 
of the Church of England. The same may be said of Spinckes' 
Sick Man Visited, the sixth edition of which appeared in 1775. 

It is at Manchester that we see at its highest the influence of 
the Dissenting Nonjuror upon the members of the Church of Eng 
land. We shall notice below 4 how Dr. Deacon, the Bishop among 
the Nonjurors, secured the support of the clergy of the Collegiate 
Church and of their people. Naturally the Whig Presbyterians 
took advantage of such an opportunity, and they ridiculed the 
clergy in the following dialogue between True-blew who appears to 
be a layman, a member of the Established Church of England, 
not a Dissenting < Nonjuror, and Whiglove, who, assuming that 
True-blew is a Protestant, is met thus: 

Mr. ^rue-blew.] A Protestant, Sir ; no Sir, I disdain the Name ; 
Christian is my Name, and Catholick my Sirname. 5 I am neither Papist, 
Presbyterian, Lutheran, nor Low-Churchman ; but I am of the pure 
Church of England, as it stands in her Liturgies; and would have her 
Discipline kept up, as in the four first Centuries. 

Mr. ftftkigtove.] What, Sir, are you a Deaconist. 

Mr. T. A Deaconist no I can't say quite a Deaconist neither, 
but I think Dr. Deacon a very worthy, religious, pious Man ; and I 
think if we took in some, or indeed most Part, of his Alterations in 

1 [Thomas Percival,] Manchester Politics, London, Robinson, 1748, p. 12. 

2 Henry Broxap, A Biography of Thomas Deacon, Manchester, 1911, p. 100. 

3 Samuel Horsley, Charge . . . in the year 1790, Gloucester, Robson, 1791, p. 38. 

4 See chapter vi. p. 179. 

5 This is a quotation from Thomas Deacon's Reply to Conyers Middleton, but 
Percival apparently does not know that the saying comes from the Fathers. (Pacianus, 
Epistola I. iv. ; Migne, P.L. XIII. 1055.) 


Principles, Discipline, and Practice, it would not be amiss ; and I daresay the 
stanches t Part of the Clergy of the Church of England would be of my Mind. 1 

Thomas Percival writes to the Clergy of the Collegiate Church 

But instead of preaching and writing against this Man's [Deacon's] 
Doctrines, and defending your Church, you keep Company with him, 
publicly praise him, as a good worthy Man, recommend him to all your 
friends as a Physician, nay some of you, if the World does not greatly bely 
you, had a hand in this very Catechism. 

* * 

Are you not convinced that above one half of your own Congregation 
have the Doctor 's Catechism and Prayer- Book in their Houses ? 

* * * 

" 'Tis pious and religious to have decent Ceremonies in the Church, 
and I could wish we might borrow so far of the Armenians, (for I would 
not be said to borrow of the Doctor] as to have the Kiss of Peace and the 
noble and grand Habits of the Priests introduced into our Church. . . ." 2 

Then Colley Cibber in his play, written expressly to attack the 
Nonjurors, yet gives testimony, unwittingly, to their character and 
teaching : it is not at all clear whether he is writing of the con 
forming, or of the dissenting, Nonjuror; or of both. It is very 
likely that Colley Cibber did not distinguish between the two wings 
of the Nonjurors. 

'Tis true, name to him 'but Rome or Popery, he startles, as at a Monster : 
but gild its grossest Doctrines with the Stile of English Catholic, he 
swallows down the Poison, like a Cordial. 3 

In another place he makes the Nonjuror claim that 
He is a true stanch Member of the English Catholic church. 4 
Nor does he make them out to be hypocrites : 

Most of your Non-jurors now are generally People of a free and open 
Disposition, mighty Pretenders to a Conscience of Honour indeed ; but you 
seldom see them put on the least Shew of Religion. 5 

Many have blamed the Nonjurors for an over-scrupulous con 
science. It does not become us in the present age to blame them, 
when the trouble with us is to find among ecclesiastics any rudi 
ments of a conscience forbidding their taking any oaths or engage- 

1 Manchester Politics. A Dialogue between Mr. True-blew and Mr. Whiglove, 
London, Robinson, 1748, p. 17. This is attributed to Thomas Percival, the Antiquary. 

2 [Thomas Percival,] Letter to the . . . Clergy of . . . Manchester, London, 
1748, pp. 7, 9, 24. 

3 Colley Cibber, The Nonjuror, Act v. Sc. i. Dramatic Works, London, 1760, vol. 
in. p. 359. 

*ibid. Act ii. p. 302. -Hbid. p. 305. 

2 * 


ments whatever ; and when obedience to authority has become 
nearly everywhere an extinct virtue. Further it must be remem 
bered what the oath was that the Nonjurors were required to take. 
It is as follows : 

1 do solemnly and sincerely Declare, That I >do believe in my Con 
science, that the Person pretended to be Prince of Wales . . . hath not 
any Right or Title whatsoever to the Crown of this Realm, or any other 
the Dominions thereto belonging. 1 

There must be many persons, even in the present day, who could 
not possibly take such an oath as this : men ready to swear a joyful 
allegiance to the present Royal Family and Government, but who 
could not aver that the son of a father had no right to his throne ; still 
less that in the bottom of his heart he believed no such right to exist. 
And so a cry went up against the tyranny of the Whigs : 

My Lord, if it must be so, let us submit to the Will of God ! but let us 
rather chuse to be STARV'D, then to be DAMN'D. 

He adds that their enemies cast it in their teeth that 

" . . . the Clergy, rather than keep up to their Old Doctrines which they 
taught us ; rather than they will suffer any Thing themselves, they will swear 
that they Believe that Snow is black, and there cannot be an Oath invented, 
that the Clergy will not take" 

And from hence it is, that we are thus despised in the World. 2 

The position of the Nonjurors was indeed a most difficult one. 
To refuse the oath was financial ruin to most of them. But unless 
one believed in the right of Parliament 3 to insist on any oath, how 
ever contrary to fact, how could the oath be taken ? 

The character of the Dissenting Nonjurors, who have been accused 
of peculiarly vile and detestable offences against morals, is now at 
last being cleared. A Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 
the nineteenth century writes : 

Perhaps too the time has come when one may venture, without offence 
or loss of intellectual caste, to challenge the vulgar verdict upon the non- 
jurors ; and may at least call on their censors to name any English sect as 
eminent, in proportion to its numbers, alike for solid learning, and for 
public as well as private virtues. 4 

1 10 Geo. I. Sess. 2. cap. xiii. in Enactments in Parliament, ed. by L. L. Shadwell, 
Oxford Historical Society, lix. 1912, vol. ii. p. 2. 

2 The Clergy' 's Tears : or, a Cry against Persecution . . . in our present great Dis 
tress and Danger, 1715, pp. 8 and n. 

3 It is not easy to explain why Milton, who was so strong a Parliamentarian, should 
have told us that the first Parliament of all was held in Pandemonium. 

4 Preface by John E. B. Mayor, p. viii. to the Life of Ambrose Bonwicke by his 
father, Cambridge, 1870. 


DURING the evil days of the Great Rebellion, it was part of the 
policy of those in power to discourage the celebration of the 
Eucharist. It is said that during this time communion had been 
discontinued for years in many parishes in England. A Fellow of 
Magdalen, preaching before the University of Oxford in 1679, 
before an audience which would from personal knowledge be able to 
check an inexact statement, spoke as follows : 

Those Intruders, who called themselves the University of Oxon. from 
the bloudy and fatal year of 1648, to the King's happy restoration, did not 
think fit so much as once to celebrate the communion together in this 
Church, [St. Mary's] and a publick Sacrament was not seen in several 
College Chapels during the same space of time. 1 

And another witness, Dr. Thomas Comber, afterwards Dean 
of Durham, writes about the same time : 

if we consider how terribly this Sacrament was represented, [i.e. put before 
the people] and how generally it was layd aside in the late times, we might 
wonder how Monthly Communions should be so well attended on by the 
people as they are. 2 

Thus at the Restoration, with a population unaccustomed to 
approach the Holy Table, even at Easter, it was exceedingly uphill 
work to carry out the Church's intention of a celebration on every 
day for which a collect, epistle, and gospel were provided. 

But in spite of this, there is evidence that in some parishes in 
large towns there was not only a monthly, but even a weekly, cele 
bration immediately after the Restoration. Annand is giving advice 
to the communicant to receive Holy Communion " as often as pro 
vidence shall put a fair opportunity in thy hand ". But he adds : 

1 Thomas Smith, A Sermon about Frequent Communion, Preached before the Uni 
versity of Oxford, August the iyth 1679. London, S. Smith, 1685, p. 33. 

2 The Remains of Denis Granville, etc., Surtees Society,ji865, vol. xlvii. p. 86, The 
letter is dated October 15, 1681. 



" This case alwayes holds not in great Parishes where possibly 
the Communion may be celebrated every Sabbath [? every week] 
or every moneth "- 1 

Thus immediately after the Restoration there would seem to 
have been a possibility, or more, in large parishes, of the Eucharist 
being celebrated once a week. 

So doubtless by way of encouragement of more frequent Com 
munion the Convocation of York decided in 1661 to address this 
question to the Convocation of Canterbury : 

Were it not expedient that the holy eucharist were celebrated upon all 
such dales as it is required ? 2 

By " required " may be meant required by the Book of Common 
Prayer, or required by a group of the faithful who desired to com 
municate. 3 

In the Northern Province one of the most active of the clergy 
in promoting a weekly celebration of the Eucharist in Cathedral 
and Collegiate Churches was Dr. Denis Granville, Archdeacon and 
afterwards Dean of Durham. But he had all the dead weight 
of years of puritan neglect to overcome, before people could be 
brought to consider Communion as an ordinary Christian duty. 
He did his best to induce the authorities in Cathedral and Colle 
giate Churches to establish at least a weekly Eucharist in accordance 
with the rubric. This he urges upon Dr. Fell, the Bishop of Oxford ; * 
and Dr. Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury ; 5 and he rejoices when 
his plan succeeds at Canterbury 6 and York, and in Dr. Beveridge's 
Parish Church. 7 

This was St. Peter's Cornhill, where the weekly celebration 
lasted till well into the coming century. It is said that 

Dr. Beveridge his devout practice and order in his church, doth ex 
ceedingly edify the city, and his congregation encreases every week : he 

1 William Annand, Fides Catholica, London, Brewster, 1661, p. 448. 

2 The Records of the Northern Convocation, Surtees Society, 1907, vol. cxiii. p. 320. 

3 Private communions were asked for. At Stepney in 1605 it was agreed that the 
vicar should provide bread and wine for the communion, " Except any private persons 
shall request an extraordinary Comunion at an extraordinary tyme, as when they go 
to sea or otherwise, for which at their owne proper chardges they are to fynd bread and 
wyne ". (G. W. Hill and W. H. Frere, Memorials of Stepney Parish, Guildford, 
1890-91, p. 52.) 

4 Miscellanea : comprising the works and letters of Dennis Granville, etc., Surtees 
Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 171. 

5 ibid. pp. 174, 211, *ibid. p. 178. 7 ibid. p. 174. 


hath seldom less than fourscore, sometime six or seven score communi 
cants, and a great many young apprentices, who come there every Lord's 
day with great devotion. 1 

In 1 68 1, Dr. Symon Patrick, being Dean of Peterborough, re 
ceived notice that 

the Archbishop required that according to the Rubric we should have 
a Communion every Sunday in Cathedral Churches ; which I began about 
Whitsuntide, and preached several sermons concerning it, persuading to 
frequent Communion. 2 

In his dedication to the Archbishop, Dr. Bancroft, of his book on 
frequent communion he alludes to these efforts. 

Having endeavoured, with some success, to restore the Weekly Com 
munions in that church to which I relate [i.e. Peterborough] ... it was by 
your Grace s Fatherly Care, that I was put in mind of this great Duty. 3 

Dr. Granville also consults Sir William Dugdale, and tells him 

I have had a very hard game to play, these twenty years (which time I 
have been Arch-deacon of Durham) in maintaining the exact order which 
Bishop Cosins set on foot here. 

And he complains that conformity 

hath been very much wounded by the bad example of Cathedrals, who 
have (for the most part) authorised the breach of law, in omitting the 
weekly celebration of the Eucharist, which hath not been constantly cele 
brated on Sundayes in any Cathedrals, but Christ Church, Ely, and 

He then asks this great antiquary how long the daily Communion 
ordered in Edward VI. 's first book remained ; for he thinks that 

people will cease their wonder at a weekly celebration, when they are 
convinced that there was a Daily celebration of the Sacrament established 
in all Cathedral and Collegiate Churches in the beginning, and never 
abolished, but only fain to the ground by the indevotion of the age. 4 

In fact his zeal in this matter seems never to have flagged while 
he remained in England ; as the number of his letters on this subject 
testifies. 5 His attempts at establishing celebrations of the Eucharist 

1 Miscellanea, p. xxxi. 

*The Autobiography of Symon Patrick, Oxford, Parker, 1839, p. 99. 

3 Symon Patrick, A treatise of the Necessity and Frequency of Receiving the Holy 
Communion, London, 1696, fourth edition. 

4 Miscellanea, pp. 178, 179. See also pp. xxxi, xxxiii. 

5 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. pp. 23, 42, 48, 
50, 52, 56, 59, 60, 71, 79, 85, 90, 108, 125. 


every Sunday seems to have met with a certain amount of success, if 
not complete. Weekly Communion, before the Revolution, was 
habitual with some. We are told by Dr. Thomas Comber, as 
follows : 

For some of the Laity (particularly the Duchess of Monmouth) do 
receive weekly, when they can have the opportunity already. 1 

Mrs. Godolphin also 

rarely missed a Sunday throughout the whole Year, wherein she did not re 
ceive the holy Sacrament, if she were in towne and tollerable health 2 . . . 
not seldome on the weeke days assisting at one poore creature's or other ; and 
when sometymes, being in the Country, or on a Journey, she had not these 
oppertunityes, she made use of a devout meditation upon that sacred Mistery, 
byway of men tall Communion, soe as she was in a continuall state of pre 
paration. And O, with what unspeakable care and niceness did she use to 
dress and trim her soul against this Heavenly Banquett ; with what flagran t 
devotion at the Altar. 

The word ' flagrant ' has here the meaning of * burning '. And 
we may note the expression ' mental ' instead of * spiritual ' com 
munion. It may be seen that Evelyn used the name of viaticum 
for the last communion. Mrs. Godolphin had " received the heavenly 
viaticum 3 but the Sunday before," 4 he says in his Diary. 

Attempts were not wanting after the Restoration to establish 
right teachings upon the place which the Eucharist should hold in 
Christian Assemblies, with a more frequent celebration of the 
Eucharist, at least once a week. 

Thorndike, speaking of the Protestant Reformation, whether in 
Scotland or abroad does not appear, says that the Reformation is 
thought to be as much characterised by the putting down of the 
Eucharist and the setting up of a sermon in its place, as by restoring 
communion in both kinds and the use of the vulgar language. 

Not so the Church of England : the reformation whereof consisteth in 
an order, as well for the celebration of and communion in the eucharist all 
Lord's days and festival days, as in putting the service into our mother- 
English. 5 

John Johnson insists upon the Eucharist as the chief act of 

1 The Remains of Denis Granville, etc., Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 86. 

2 The Life of Mrs. Godolphin by John Evelyn, London, 1888, p. 167. 

3 For other instances of the use of this word in our period, see Appendix to this 
Chapter, p. 45. 

4 The Diary of John Evelyn, 1678, Sept. 9, ed. Bray and Wheatley, Bickers, 1879, 
vol. ii. p. 342. 

5 Herbert Thorndike, Of the Laws of the Church, Book III. ch. xxv. 2 in 
Theological Works, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1853, Vol. IV. part ii. p. 581. 


Christian worship. In the second chapter of the second part of the 
Unbloody Sacrifice, he treats of the Eucharist as the proper Christian 
Worship, and the necessity of a frequent Eucharist, and the duty 
of private Christians frequently to join the celebrating and receiving 
it. 1 


Then as to the frequency of celebration. It seems to have been 
the belief throughout our period that in primitive times the 
Eucharist was everywhere celebrated every day. This is now known 
to be a mistaken opinion. For example, in the church of Jerusalem 
at the time of the visit of Sylvia, or Etheria, there was no daily 
celebration. 2 So in the Orthodox Church of the East the Euchar 
ist is not now invariably celebrated daily. The late Bishop of 
Gibraltar, Dr. W. E. Collins, informed me that even in the great 
theological school of the Halke, near Constantinople, there was not 
a daily celebration. Mr. Faminski told me that in Russia, the 
larger number of parish churches in the country have not a daily 
celebration ; but a daily celebration is the usual practice in towns 
and cities. And the monks of the Charterhouse, it may be re 
membered, had in the middle ages no celebration on week days, 
but only on Sundays and holidays. 3 This is most likely the earliest 
practice of the Christian community. 

But it may be desirable to give some evidence of the widespread 
existence of the opinion, even if mistaken. 

Dr. Brevint, afterwards Dean of Lincoln, seems to have thought 
that the Eucharist was to be celebrated daily : 

Nevertheless this Sacrifice which by a real Oblation was not to be 
offered more than once, is by an Eucharistical and devout Commemoration 
to be offered up every day. 4 

Dr. Comber, later on to be Dean of Durham, says of the primi 
tive Christians : 

1 John Johnson, The Unbloody Sacrifice and Altar, London, Knaplock, 1718, Part 
II. ch. ii. p. 93. 

2 S. Sylviae Aquitanae Peregrinatio, Romae, 1888, ex typis Vaticanis, ed. J. F. 
Gamurrini, p. 45. 

8 C. le Couteulx, Annales Ordinis Cartusiensis, Monstrolii, 1888, t. i. p. 293 ; t. ii. 
P. 515. 

4 Dan. Brevint, The Christian Sacrament and Sacrifice^ Section VI. 3, Oxford, 
P- 74- 


their daily or Weekly Communions made it known that there was 
then, no solemn Assembly of Christians without it, [the Eucharist] and 
every one not under censure was expected to Communicate. 1 

Dr. Symon Patrick while still a priest writes thus : 

After the people contented themselves with receiving every Sunday, at 
least ; still the Priests and the Deacons , and such, as were not entangled in 
secular business, continued the ancient custom of receiving the Communion 
every day. 2 

and a little later on : 

The Church of Rome hath thus far preserved a right notion of the holy 
Communion, as to conceive it to be a part of the daily Service : upon 
which the people as you have heard, attended, more or less, for some Ages. 3 

Inett, who was precentor of Lincoln, and the author of many 
popular books of devotion, writes : 

Let them remember that the Apostles communicated daily, the Primi 
tive Christians weekly. 4 

Dr. William Lowth, Prebendary of Winchester, and parson of 
Buriton with Petersfield, who died in 1732, the father of Robert 
Lowth, Bishop of London, wrote quite a sound Tractarian essay on 
the Church, in which he says : 

As St. Jerome speaks, the Celebration of the Lord's Supper was look'd 
upon as a necessary Part of the Christian Worship, which they performed 
daily, as we read ver. 46 of this Chapter. 5 [Acts ii.] 

The frequent if not daily administration of the Eucharist in the 
primitive Church was known to the deist Herring, who was Arch 
bishop of Canterbury from 1747 to 1757. He says: 

In the Beginning of Christianity it was very frequently, if not daily 
administered. 6 

Dr. Seeker, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, urging a 
more frequent celebration of the Eucharist than prevailed in his 
time, says : 

1 Thomas Comber, A Companion to the Altar, London, Martyn, 1675, p. 102. 

2 Symon Patrick, A Treatise of the Necessity and Frequency of receiving the Holy 
Communion, Discourse IT. vi. fourth edition, London, Meredith, 1696, p. 68. 

s ibid. Discourse II. viii. p. 73. 

4 John Inett, A guide to the Devout Christian, sec. ed. 1691, p. 263. The first 
edition was most likely, judging from the date of the Imprimatur, published in 1687. 

5 William Lowth, The Characters of an Apostolical Church fulfilled in the Church 
of England, sec. ed. London, Bonwicke, 1722, p. 15. 

6 A new form of Common-Prayer, London, Griffiths, 1753, p. 113. 


In the three first Centuries the Eucharist was everywhere celebrated 
weekly, and in many places almost daily. 1 

It would seem that this really expresses the historical facts. 
The opinion is most likely based upon Bingham's statement as to 
the frequency of Communion. 

But we are assured farther, that in some Places they received the 
Communion every Day. ... In the greater Churches probably they had 
it every Day, in the lesser only once or twice a week. Carthage seems to 
have been one of those Churches which had it every Day from the Time 
of Cyprian. For Cyprian and Austin after him speak of it as the custom 
of that Church to receive it Daily, unless they were under some such 
grievous Sin as separated them. 2 

Samuel Hardy, whose writings on the Eucharist should not be 
forgotten, for he was one of the strongest supporters of the doctrine 
of the Eucharist as a material sacrifice in the latter half of the 
eighteenth century, says : 

There was, however, a Tradition in the Church, that a Daily Celebra 
tion of the Eucharist was the Positive Command of Christ ; and we can 
trace this through several Centuries from the Days of Clement to the 
Council of Aix la Chapelle? 

and in another work : 

Many of our learned Men have shown, that the Eucharist made a 
part of the Daily Service of the Primitive Church . . . there are not 
wanting those who affirm that our Lord commanded a Daily Celebration" 

Francis Fox, whose book passed through numerous editions in 
the eighteenth century, teaches children thus : 

Q. Does our Church intend that the Sacrament should be administered 
as often as the Communion-service is read ? 

A. I think so, if there be a competent number of devout persons at 
Church, desirous to receive it. 5 

And again : 

Thomas Seeker, Eight Charges, London, 1771, p. 62, in the Second Charge, 

2 Joseph Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Church, Book XV. Chapter ix. 
iv. in Works, London, Knaplock, 1726, vol. i. p. 826. 

3 Samuel Hardy, The Scripture account of the Nature and Ends of the Holy 
Eucharist, London, Benj. White, 1784, p. 481. 

4 Samuel Hardy, A new, plain, and scriptural Account of the nature and ends of 
the holy Eucharist, London, 1763, p. [xii]. 

5 Francis Fox, The duty of Public Worship Proved, Section VIII. fifteenth edition, 
reprinted, London, Rivingtons, 1806, p. 43. 


Q. Is preaching the principal part of public worship ? 

A. No ; for the principal parts of public worship are, Confession of 
our Sins, Praying to God, Praising Him, and commemorating the Sacrifice 
of Christ's death. We ought therefore to go to church as well when there 
is no Sermon, as when there is one. 1 

This edition has been slightly altered from the earlier ; but it 
shows that even in the early part of the nineteenth century, the 
Eucharistic sacrifice was taught to be a principal part of public 
worship, and the teaching thereon strengthened rather than 

William Law, the Nonjuror who yet did not secede from the 
Church of England, teaches us that 

we are most of all to desire Prayers, which are offered up at the Altar % 
where the Body and Blood of Christ are joined with them. 2 

A little catechism for children, without date, but printed by 
Jacobs, Halifax, and judging by the type, of the latter half of 
the eighteenth century, has these questions and answers : 

3. What are the chief means of grace ? 

The Lord's Supper, Prayer, searching the Scriptures, and Fasting. 

4. How often did the first Christians receive the Lord's Supper ? 
Every day : it was their daily bread. 

5. How often did they join in public prayer ? 
Twice a day, as many of them as could. 8 

When the primitive practice of daily celebration was thus dog 
matically taught to children it must have been very firmly believed. 

Thus it was recognised that a frequent celebration of the 
Eucharist, daily or weekly, was to be aimed at if we followed primi 
tive custom. But unhappily neither daily nor weekly celebration 
was carried out on any very large scale. The attempts at daily com 
munion, it will be regretted, were wholly unsatisfactory. 

The first instance in our period of a daily celebration is to be 
met with about the year 1694. It was at St. Giles' Cripplegate, 
the Vicar of which was then Dr. Fowler, Bishop of Gloucester, who 
allowed the use of the church to one Edward Stephens. He gath 
ered together a little band of daily communicants, which Dr. Thomas 
Smith tells us was made up "of five or six women". 4 This daily 

1 Francis Fox, op. cit. p. 9. 

2 William Law, A Practical Treatise upon Christian Perfection, ed. by J. J. 
Trebeck, London, Spottiswoode, 1902, ch. xii. p. 322. 

8 Instructions for children, Jacobs, Halifax, no date, p. 5. 

4 T. Hearne, Remarks and Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1885, vol. i. p. 188. 
See below in chapter ix. for details of Stephens' society. 


celebration began on the Epiphany 1694 and seems to have gone 
on for some four years or so; but in 1698 Stephens desired to be 
reconciled to the Church of Rome, on his own terms, which were 
of course refused. He was very fierce against Popery in 1704, but 
his theological position after 1698 is by no means clear. A life of 
Stephens, with a full survey of his inconsistencies, changeableness, 
and waywardness, has yet to be written. 1 

Sir George Wheler, the Prebendary of Durham, speaking of the 
services in a chapel in a nobleman's house and the duty of the 
chaplain daily to recite morning and evening prayers, says : 

To which would he add the Communion Service daily at Noon, as the 
Church allows, the Worship of God would be daily performed there, 
almost entire, according to our Liturgy ; which is the best Form extant. 2 

A horrible misuse of the practice of daily communion appears 
later on. A young Jacobite, named Sheppard, was in 1718 ready 
to kill King George the First, and suffer death for it, " the best 
preparation for which, he thought, would be the reception of the 
Sacrament daily from the hands of a Priest, ignorant of his de 
sign". 3 Possibly Sheppard was a papist. 

Not wholly unlike Edward Stephens is John Henley, of whose 
" gilt tub " and pretensions to a primitive Eucharist we are re 
minded in the Dunciad.^ He, too, was ordained a clergyman of 
the Church of England ; but his eloquence not being sufficiently 
appreciated by his superiors, he set up a schismatical meeting house 
which he called an Oratory, and for which in 1726 he composed a 
liturgy which certainly passed through as many as five editions. 
The first rubric is : 

Let the Eucharist be, if possible ', celebrated daily, as was the primitive 

Whitefield writes on October n, 1750 describing life at Lady 
Huntingdon's : 

1 Dr. Philip Bliss gives a list of Stephens' printed works in his edition of Hearne's 
Diaries. (Reliquice Hearniance, Oxford, 1857, pp. 59-64.) See also the Cherry and 
Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library. 

2 [George Wheler,] The Protestant Monastery : or, Christian Oeconomicks. Con 
taining directions for the Religious Conduct of a Family, 1698, p. 154. 

3 John Doran, London in Jacobite Times, London, Bentley, 1877, vol. i. p. 302. 

4 A. Pope, Dunciad, Book II. line 2 and note. 

5 The Primitive Liturgy and Eucharist . . . for the use of the Oratory, London, 
1727, fifth edition, p. 119. The newspapers of the time, e.g. Fog's Journal, contain 
advertisements of the services in the Oratory. 


We have the sacrament every morning, heavenly consolation all day, 
and preaching at night. 1 

It would seem, at this time of his life, that he was not living in 

John Wesley records, as on the Christmas day of 1774, though 
the entry must have been added later for he speaks of the Twelve 
Days of Christmas which end on January 6th, that 

During the twelve festival days, we had the Lord's-Supper daily; a 
little emblem of the Primitive Church. May we be followers of them in 
all things, as they were of Christ ! 2 

The allusion to the Primitive Church is no doubt caused by the 
belief then so prevalent that the Eucharist in the first centuries 
was everywhere celebrated daily, which has been spoken of above. 


It should be noticed that these attempts at establishing a daily 
celebration in the eighteenth century were connected with schism 
from the beginning, and thus doomed to failure. But the efforts 
to establish a weekly Eucharist were not so entirely unfruitful. We 
have seen the well-meant struggle of Denis Granville at Durham to 
procure some observance of the Church's rule that the Eucharist 
should be celebrated weekly in cathedral and collegiate churches. 
A year or two later after his flight, some scheme for establishing 
weekly celebrations in the parish churches of London was evidently 
set on foot. 

There is an interesting single sheet folio in the British Museum, 
the price of which, " the second Impression Corrected and Enlarged," 
was in 1692 a halfpenny; one of its purposes was to point out 
"Where you may, in Imitation of the Apostles of our Lord, Every 
Lords day partake of the blessed Sacrament of the Lords Supper ". 
The churches with a weekly celebration of the Eucharist were only 
10 in number : All Hallows Barking, St. Andrew's Holborn, St. 
Giles' Cripplegate, St. Vedast's Foster Lane, St. James' Chapel, St. 
Michael's Wood Street, St. Peter's Cornhill, and St. Swithun's 
London Stone. All these, with the exception of St. James' Chapel, 
were at noon. That at St. James' was at 8 ; and at St. Lawrence 

1 L. Tyerman, The Life of the Rev. George Whitefield, Hodder and Stoughton, 
1877, vol. ii. p. 265. 

2 An extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley's Journal, London, Hawes, 1779, 
xvii. p. 48. 


Guildhall, except the first Sunday in the month, the celebration 
was at 6. At St. Martin's in the Fields, except the second Sunday, 
it was also at 6, but on the first it was at noon. 

The rest of the parish churches had celebration the first Sunday 
in the month at noon, while at St. Mary le Savoy they had two 
celebrations on that Sunday, one at 7, the other at noon. At St. 
James' Westminster they had celebration only on the second Sunday 
in the month. 

The pious author of this single sheet adds below his tables : 

If this Paper have its desired Effect, I trust Almighty God will open 
the hearts of his faithful Labourers, to set up Daily Prayer and Weekly 
Communion in many of their own Churches, where at present it is not. 1 

To follow into the next century the account of the weekly 

In 1704 there was Holy Communion every Sunday at St. 
Andrew's Holborn, All Hallows Barking, St. James' Chapel, St. 
Lawrence Jewry, St. Martin's in the Fields, St. Peter's Cornhill, St. 
Swithun's London Stone, 2 fewer it may be feared than in 1692. 

In 1728 there was a celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday 
at these churches and these hours, as follows : St. Andrew's Hol 
born at 9 ; St. Anne's Aldersgate at 6 ; All Hallows Barking, hour 
not given ; St. Dunstan's in the West at 9 ; St. George's Chapel, in 
Ormond Street at 10 ; St. Giles' Cripplegate at 9, and some Sundays 
at 6 ; St. James' Chapel at 8 ; St. Lawrence Jewry at 6, except on 
the first Sunday in the month when it was at 10; St. Martin's in 
the Fields at 6, except on the second Sunday in the month ; St. 
Peter's Cornhill at 9 ; St. Swithun's London Stone at 9. 3 

Paterson's Pietas Londinensis , published in I7!4j names the 
following churches as having a weekly celebration : 

All Hallows Barking at noon ; St. Andrew's Holborn, after fore 
noon sermon, and on Easter Day at 7 and 12; St. Clement Danes 
at 12 ; Chapel, Story's Gate, St. James' Park, at 12 ; St. Dunstan's 
West at 1 2 ; St. George's Queen Square at 1 2 ; Chapel Royal St. 
James' at 8 and 12 if the Queen be present; St. Lawrence Jewry, 

1 The Shelf Mark in the British Museum is 491. k. 4 (n). It begins with : In the 
parable of the Marriage Feast. It was sold by Samuel Keble at the Turk's Head in 
Fleet Street. 

2 Rules for our more Devout Behaviour In the time of Divine Service, tenth ed. 
London, Keble, 1704. 

3 ibid, fourteenth edition, London, Hazard, 1728, last leaves. 


the first Sunday of the month at 1 2 and the others at 6 ; St. 
Martin's in the Fields at 12, but on the first Sunday in the month 
at 6 or 7 and again at 1 2 ; St. Peter's Cornhill, every Sunday at 1 1 
after Sermon; St. Stephen's Coleman Street at 12. 

This agrees in many particulars with lists given in the tables 
of the edition of Stow published in I72O. 1 The lists in Stow pub 
lished in 1755 agree so closely with those of 1720 that a suspi 
cion is raised that the editor of 1755 has merely copied those 
of 1720. 

The Pious Country Parishioner is told that : 

In many great towns in England, we have Monthly Communions ; 
nay, in many Churches, every Lord's Day. 2 

And another writer of the same date points out : 

But now, when every Church, and every Festival, when every Priest 
and almost every Lord's Day exhibits this delicious Food and offers it to 
as many 3 . . . 

It may be taken for granted that in all the other parish churches 
spoken of by Paterson the Eucharist was celebrated once a month, 
often the first Sunday in the month. But, though the Eucharist 
was not weekly, yet in some it was celebrated oftener than once a 
month, of which the following are instances from Paterson. 

At St. Anne's Soho there was communion every first and third 
Sunday of the month, and Good Friday at 1 2, but on Christmas 
Day, Easter Day, and Whitsunday at 7 and 12. At St. Dunstan's 
Stepney, the first and second Sunday of the month at 1 2 ; St. Dun 
stan's in the West, every " holy day at twelve and every day in the 
Octaves 4 of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday at 8 after morning 
prayers ". At St. Giles' in the Fields, every second Sunday in the 
month after morning prayers at 7. At St. James' Piccadilly, "every 
second Sunday in the month, and every Sunday from Palm-Sunday 
to Trinity Sunday, and on New Year's Day at twelve o'clock only; 
and on Christmas Day, Palm Sunday, Easter Day, and Whitsunday, 

1 John Stow, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, ed. Strype, 
London, 1720, vol. ii. p. 19 of Book V. 

2 Pious Country Parishioner, London, Pemberton, sixth ed. 1732, p. 147. This 
note appears in all editions that I have seen down to that of 1836. 

3 James King, Sacramental Devotions, London, J. Hazard, 1722, p. 26. 

4 Octave is an expression used by A. Sparrow (Rationale, London, Garthwait, 
1661, p. 179) in his paragraph on Trinity Sunday, which is "lookt upon as an Octave 
of Pentecost ". See also the Appendix to this chapter, p. 47. 


twice, viz. at seven and twelve ". At St. Mary le Bow, every holy 
day immediately after morning prayers. At St. Mary Magdalen 
Bermondsey, "twice on all Holy Days that fall on the first 
Sunday of the Month, and on Christmas Day, Easter Day, Whit 
sunday, etc., at seven and twelve ". At St. Mary le Strand, every 
first Sunday in the month, at seven and twelve. At St. Matthew 
Friday Street, the first Sunday in the month, twice, at six after 
morning prayers and sermon, and again at 1 2. At St. Olave Hart 
Street, it is said "The Holy Sacrament is administered on every 
Sunday, after the first Thursday of the Month, and on all solemn 
Occasions ". At St. Paul's Covent Garden, the first Sunday at 12, 
the third at 7. At St. Sepulchre's, besides every first Sunday of the 
month, every Sunday from Easter to Trinity Sunday after fore 
noon sermon. 

To leave the London churches and treat of what is more parti 

Mrs. Astell's community was to have a celebration of the holy 
Eucharist every Lord's day and holy day. 1 

There was weekly communion at Christ Church Oxford towards 
the end of the seventeenth and in the first third of the eighteenth cen 
tury ; for Hearne tells us that Francis Fox when at Edmund Hall 
" went every Sunday to Christ Church Prayers in the Morning, to re 
ceive the Sacrament," 2 and speaking of the death of Dr. Henry 
Aldrich, the Dean of Christ Church, on Dec. 14, 1710, the same 
diarist says ; 

He constantly receiv'd the Sacrament every Sunday, rose to five a Clock 
Prayers in the Morning Summer and Winter. 3 

Also the Oxford Methodists, as they were called, bound them 
selves by a rule to receive Communion weekly because the place 
afforded opportunities of this. Also they were to observe strictly 
the fasts of the Church. 4 

Swift in his exile in Ireland restored weekly communion in his 
collegiate church. At least so Johnson says in his Life of Swift? 

1 Mary Astell, A serious proposal to the Ladies, London, 1696, p. 60. First edition 
was in 1694 ; the fourth in 1701. 

2 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, ed. C. E. Doble, Oxford Historical 
Society, 1885, vol. i. p. 34. 

3 ibid. 1889, vol. iii. p. 89. 

4 The Oxford Methodists : being some account of a Society of Young Gentlemen in 
that City, so denominated, London, Roberts, 1733, p. 9. 

5 Samuel Johnson, Works, Edinburgh, 1806, vol. xiii. p. 38. 



Though a weekly communion, or even a monthly, might not be 
possible from the apathy of the laity, yet the least expected was that 
there should be means that every parishioner should be able to com 
municate at least three times a year. Also that the parish priest 
should be ready to celebrate the Eucharist whenever the necessary 
number to make a synaxis could be got together. We see this urged 
in the Visitation articles of a Bishop of St. Asaph, Dr. William Fleet- 
wood, esteemed, perhaps unjustly, a Whig and Low Churchman ; 
yet in 1710 he put these questions at a Visitation touching the 
curate of the place : 

10. Doth he Administer the Sacrament of the Lord's- Supper so often, 
that all his Parishioners may Receive at least three times in the Year ? 

11. Is he always ready to Administer it when there is a sufficient 
Number of his Parishioners duly prepared and desirous to Communicate 
with him ? * 

On the other hand we may note the hindrances which other 
Whig prelates tried to throw in the way of the keeping of the 
Church's rule about weekly communion in Collegiate Churches. 
John Byrom, the sturdy churchman of Manchester, is perhaps best 
known to this age as the author of the Christmas hymn, Christians 
awake^ salute the happy morn. He was a Manchester man, and Dr. 
Peploe, Bishop of Chester, visited the " Old Church," then only 
collegiate, with a view to crushing certain practices which were but 
in accordance with the law. The visitation was finished on Monday, 
April 1 8, 1743, and a correspondent of John Byrom thus ironically 
describes the utterances of the Bishop : 

The weekly communion is likewise a great and grievous innovation, 
and an heavy charge upon the parishioners. No matter for primitive 
practice or ancient canons. They are all Popish. The Church of England 
enjoins her members to receive but three times in the year. 

* * * 

I intended to give you more and merrier, but my vein of mirth, you 
see, is exhausted, and that I am almost at the end of my tether. 2 

The rubric at the end of the Communion Service in the Book of 

1 Articles of Enquiry exhibited by the Right Reverend Father in God, William 
[Fleetwood] . . . at his primary Visitation, no printer's name or place, 1710, p. 22. 

2 Richard Parkinson, The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom, 
Chetham Society, 1857, Vol. II. part ii. p. 357. It is unfortunate that we have no other 
account of this Visitation. By the kindness of the Dean of Chester, the Episcopal Register 
at Chester has been examined, but the record of the Visitation at Manchester deals 
chiefly with the question of leases. 


Common Prayer contains a plain direction that in Cathedral and 
Collegiate Churches and Colleges, where there are many Priests and 
Deacons, they shall all receive the Communion with the Priest every 
Sunday at the least. The law of the Church was nothing to Dr. 

A desire for a weekly celebration of the Eucharist is to be found 
expressed in the middle of the eighteenth century. 

There can be no solid Reason given why weekly Communions should 
not be everywhere established ; and why the People should not receive the 
Sacrament as regularly as they come to the Prayers and Sermon. 1 

A page or two before the author pleads for communion on week 
days, and wishes that a celebration every Sunday had been made a 
matter of necessity, not of liberty, and that whenever a review of 
the Liturgy shall be considered expedient such a rule shall be con 


It was the usual practice with pious people of this time to re 
ceive communion only once a month. Swift tells us this of Queen 
Anne : 

The queen has the gout, and did not come to chapel, nor stir out from 
her chamber, but received the sacrament there : as she always does the 
first Sunday in the month. 2 

The Rector of St. James' Piccadilly, taking leave of his parish 
on his promotion to the See of Norwich, speaks of " those Multi 
tudes, that without Superstition or Tumult, every month crowd up 
to the Altar ". 8 

Still, on the other hand, a few years after, during Dr. Clarke's 
incumbency, there is something noted not quite so much to the 
credit of St. James' Church : 

there is one great Fault in the Churches here, which we no where meet with 
abroad, and that is, that a Stranger cannot have a convenient Seat without 
paying for it ; and particularly at this St. James's, where it costs one almost 

1 An Essay on the Lord's Supper, London, J. Mechell, 1747, p. 27. 

' J J. Swift, Journal to Stella, Sept. 2, 1711, in Works, ed. Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 
1814, vol. ii. p. 338. 

3 A Sermon preached at the Parish-Church of St. James's Westminster on Sunday 
the $oth of January, 1708 by the Right Reverend Father in God, Charles [Trimnell] 
Lord Bishop of Norwich. At his taking his Leave of the said Parish, London, Chap 
man, 1709, p. 25. 



as dear as to see a Play. It is a pity that the Worship of God should be put 
to Sale, and that so venerable a Devotion as that of this Church, should be 
accompany'd with Expence ; however, on Week-Days they have the 
Prayers in most Churches at certain Hours in the Morning, as the Roman 
Catholicks have their Masses, where a Stranger may join in them for 
nothing. 1 

In the Religious Society of St. Giles' Cripplegate, whose mem 
bers evidently aimed at a high standard of life, the communion 
of the Society was only to be once a month at six o'clock in the 
morning at St. Lawrence Jewry. 2 

But the difficulty in establishing more frequent communion was 
with the ordinary lay folk : there was the old mediaeval tradition 
of communion only once a year, at Easter ; and nearer to the time, 
the Puritan tradition of none at all. Dr. Johnson's piety is un 
doubted ; yet we find no evidence of his communicating oftener 
than once a year, at Easter. 3 So, too, the custom of Kettlewell, 
thought a considerable High Churchman, was as follows. He took 
possession of his parish in 1682 and this was his practice until he 
was deprived : 

He always Administered the Holy Communion on Christmas- Day, 
Good- Friday, Easter- Day, the Sunday after, and Whit- Sunday ; and 
several Times of the year besides. But because the greatest part of his 
Parishioners had been very negligent in the Performance of that Duty, he 
took a great deal of Pains to make them sensible of their Fault, both from 
the Pulpit, and in Conversation ; and had Success in convincing several. 4 

This seems to us nowadays seldom enough. It is not unlike 
the practice at Clay worth. 5 

If we glance over the books of devotion published in France in 
the eighteenth century, we may very likely come to the conclusion 
that, with the French, communion once a month was the rule for 
the average person of piety. In England the increase of the number 
of communions during the nineteenth century is almost the only 
unmixed good that we can point to as arising in that time. 

1 A Journey through England in familiar letters, London, Roberts and Caldecott, 
1714, vol. i. p. 202. 

2 See Appendix to Chapter ix. below, p. 312. 

3 In 1779, on his birthday he notes at Epsom : " My purpose is to communicate at 
least thrice a year " ; but there is no evidence that he carried this purpose out. (Prayers 
and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson, ed. George Strahan, London, Cadell, 
1785, p. 175.) 

4 Memoirs of the Life of Mr. John Kettlewell compiled from the collections of Dr. 
George Hickes and Robert Nelson, Esq. London, 1718, p. 65. 

6 See below, p. 38. 



It must be acknowledged that throughout our period the laity 
received communion with a melancholy infrequency. Yet though 
celebrations were so rare, the number of communicants in propor 
tion to the population of parishes will bear comparison with that 
in our day. No doubt to-day the total number of communions is 
much greater, for the same person, who in the eighteenth century 
only approached the Holy Table once a month, now receives com 
munion once or twice a week, or even oftener. 

Dr. Symon Patrick, when at St. Paul's Covent Garden, says 
that he had often great Communions, and sometimes large offerings. 1 
This was about 1680. Crowds would approach the Holy Table 
on certain occasions. Evelyn tells us on Oct. 7, 1688, only a 
month before the Revolution, when people's minds were full of the 
danger of the bringing back of popery : 

Dr. Tenison preach'd at St. Martina's. . . . After which neere 1000 
devout persons partook of the communion. 

That a large number of people did approach the Altar in Queen 
Anne's time we learn from the expressions used by Nelson : " Where 
Communions are large we may want some Exercises for the Em 
ploying our devout Affections". 2 

In 1712 Lord Willoughby de Broke says : 

never were our Churches so well filled ; never our Communions so fre 
quented ; never more holy Zeal, more humble Devotion ; never larger 
Charities, than what are constantly offered up at the Holy Table in every 
Church of this great City. 3 

At Manchester in 1 738 Whitefield visited the chaplain of the " Old 
Church " and even took duty in his chapel of ease. 

Here he spent Sunday, December 3 [Advent Sunday] and preached 
twice in Clayton's church, [i.e. chapel of ease] to thronged and attentive 
congregations, and assisted six more clergymen in administering the sacra 
ment to three hundred communicants. 4 

Later in 1 748 he writes : 

1 The autobiography of Symon Patrick, Oxford, Parker, 1839, p. 88. 

2 Robert Nelson, The great duty of frequenting the Christian Sacrifice, London, 
Churchill, 1706, p. 136. 

3 George, Lord Willoughby de Broke, Blessedness of doing good, London, Joseph 
Downing, 1712, p. 13. 

4 L. Tyerman, The Life of the Rev. George Whitefield, Hodder and Stoughton, 
1876, vol. i. 148. 


I have preached twice in St. Bartholomew's Church, and helped to 
administer the sacrament once. I believe, on Sunday last, we had a thou 
sand communicants. 1 

Clayton, be it noticed, was the chaplain who was attacked by 
the Whigs at Manchester for high church practices. In 1745 as 
the young Chevalier passed, he knelt in the streets and prayed for 
his success. And it should be observed that the churches where 
these large numbers of communicants were found, were not the 
churches or chapels served by Whitefield himself, but by their 
regular incumbents. 

Of Romaine, the rector of St. Andrew's, Baynard Castle, in the 
city of London, it is said : 

The popular enthusiasm in favour of the new rector was such, that the 
papers of April 1767 assert, that he administered the sacrament to more 
than 500 persons on the Good Friday of that year, and to 300 on the fol 
lowing Sunday. 2 

But the figures which have just been given are in round numbers, 
taken from parishes in London or other large towns where even if 
we had exact figures given it would not be an easy matter to infer 
the proportion of communicants to the rest of the population. 
Yet if it be allowed us to judge from such figures of the period as 
are at hand, it would seem that the proportion of communicants to 
the population at large is not much higher nowadays than it was 
in the eighteenth century. In the first set of figures given below, 
that set out in 1676 by the Rector of Clayworth, the proportion 
would seem to be higher than is usual in the early part of the 
twentieth century. 

In reply to queries from the Archbishop of York as to the 
number of persons of age to receive the Communion, the Rector of 
Clayworth in 1676 replies : 

That the number of Persons Young and Old within the Parish of Cla- 
worth being under 400, there are of them of age to communicate (according 
to the Canon) 236, and these did actually communicate at our Easter Com 
munion 200 ; that is to say on Palm Sunday, Good-friday and Easter-day. 3 

The numbers were divided as follows : Palm Sunday 50, Good 
Friday 37, Easter Day 113: in all, 200 as stated. 4 

1 L. Tyerman, The Life of the Rev. George Whitefield, Hodder and Stoughton, 
1876, vol. ii. p. 186. 

2 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, 1803, vol. ii. p. 364. 

3 Harry Gill and Everard L. Guilford, The Rector's Book Clayworth Notts, Nott 
ingham, Saxton, 1910, p. 18. 

4 ibid. p. 14. 


Later on the Rector attempted three Celebrations at each of the 
great festivals, Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide; but these 
extra celebrations appear to have been given up ; the communicants 
sank to 7, 4, and 3 only. 1 

A few years later we have figures from the Diocese of London. 

Hillingdon, Middlesex. 

1682 This year on Easter Day was [? and] Low Sunday 300 persons 
received the communion, alarmed to their duty by an order from Henry 
[Compton], Lord Bishop of London. 2 

Mr. Messiter has published a very valuable account of the 
Church life in the small parish of Epworth in the eighteenth cent 
ury. From the parish documents he has compiled a table of the 
number of communicants from 1742 to 1762. The lowest average 
is 34, the highest 70. Commenting upon this and the amount of 
money collected during the offertory, Mr. Messiter says : 

Thus, for example, it will be seen that in 1 746 there was an average 
attendance of seventy at each Communion, and the total amount collected 
in the year was ^4. 195. 6d. ; that in 1755 the average attendance was 
only thirty five, and the total amount collected $. 45. 3d. 3 

He adds that the largest attendance at any one Communion 
was on Christmas Day : 

"Dec. 25, 1744: 135 Communicants." 

On Easter Day, March 22, 1761, there were eighty-six com 
municants. 4 

I have not been able to make out any certain data for the num 
bers of the inhabitants of Epworth in the middle of the eighteenth 
century. In 1801, the first English census, the population was 
1434. In 1901, it was 1856, having thus risen over 400 in the 
century. If it be allowed to make a guess at 1200 for the popula 
tion in the mid-eighteenth century, and deducting a third for those 
not yet old enough to be communicants, we have some 800 possible 
communicants, and of these eighty-six communicated at Easter 
1761 : 135 at Christmas 1744. 

To pass on to the very verge of the nineteenth century. 

1 Harry Gill and Everard L. Guilford, The Rector's Book Clayworth Notts, Nott- 
ingham, Saxton, 1910, pp. 66, 74, 77, 91, 98, etc. 

2 J. S. Burn, The History of Parish Registers in England, sec. ed. London, J. R. 
Smith, 1862, p. 186. 

3 A. F. Messiter, Notes on Epworth Parish Life in the eighteenth century, Elliot 
Stock, 1912, p. 50. 

* Op. cit. p. 53. 


In the year 1 800 a sort of census is taken in the diocese of 
Lincoln and the clergy wring their hands over the results : 

In seventy-nine of those parishes returns have been made of the pro 
portion which the number of attendants on public worship and of the Lord's 
Supper bears to their population. The aggregate result of these returns 
stands thus : 

f The number of inhabitants is estimated at 15042 
I Adults above fourteen years of age 1 1282 

In 79 Parishes -j Average number in the ordinary congregations 4933 
Average number of communicants at each 

sacrament 1808 

So that the ordinary number of attendants on divine service does not 
amount to one-third part of the number of inhabitants, and the communicants 
are not one-sixth part of the adults. 1 

The records of the diocese of St. Asaph for the year 1 806 have 
been examined by Mr. Jebb. He tells us that he has taken the 
returns "at haphazard," and this is the varying result : 

In the parish of Llanfair Caereinion, with a population of 2,537, there 
were 750 communicants at Easter. Of Dissenters there were in the parish 
only 25 Methodists, and " 9 to 12 " persons who attended the Presbyterian 

In the parish of Llanfyllin, with a population of from 400 to 500, there 
were from 200 to 300 communicants at Easter. 

In the parish of Castle Caereinion, with a population of 635, there 
was " only one family of Calvinistic Methodists who do not receive the 
Holy Communion ". 

In the parish of Darwen, with 800 souls, there were no Dissenters of 
any denomination, and no meeting-house, and the monthly Communion 
was attended by from 72 to 84 persons. 

In the parish of Machynlleth, with a population of 2,154, there were 
from 50 to 60 Dissenters and 300 communicants. 2 

To compare the number of Easter communicants at the begin 
ning of the nineteenth century with those in recent years. In 1911- 
1 2 in the diocese of Lincoln there was roughly speaking a population 
of 560,000, the communicants at Easter 46,000. Deducting a third 
from the population as not yet come to years of discretion, we get 
380,000 as of age to receive communion and thus only an eighth part 
approached the Holy Table at Easter. Things are no better if we 
take the whole population of England. It was over 36 millions, from 

1 Report from the Clergy of a district in the diocese of Lincoln, etc. London, 
Rivington, 1800, p. 6. 

2 H. H. Jebb, A great bishop of one hundred years ago, London, Arnold, 1909, p. 


which a third deducted leaves 24 millions ; yet only two and a half 
millions communicated at Easter, something like a tenth of what was 
possible. 1 

Thus there is no room for self-congratulation in the twentieth 
century over past times. We must say with Elijah : " I am not better 
than my fathers ". 


A writer who claims to be " late of the University of Oxford " 
in a preface to a revised book of Common Prayer, after directing 
the Eucharist to be celebrated at evening service, though " it is now 
generally celebrated in the morning," passes on to recommend non- 
communicating attendance : 

It appears, that we have not only lost sight of the time of the day in which 
this ordinance should be celebrated, but we have lost sight of the ancient 
practice, of celebrating it in the presence of the whole congregation, after 
the manner of the Catholics. For, instead of this, those that will not 
receive it, are now ordered to depart, that the doors may be closed : thus 
they appear to be ashamed of the Lord, at the very time they are about to 
partake of his supper ! 2 

Evidently this member of the University of Oxford had never 
heard of the expulsion of the catechumens. And fourteen years 
afterwards, another writer, though much better informed, suggests 
a Canon ordering non-Communicants not to leave their seats till the 
whole service be concluded. He objects to the premature departure 
of baptized non-communicants directly after the sermon. 3 


The ceremonies of Anglican worship in this period were 
doubtless simple enough ; but, given a will to see evil in them, they 
could no doubt be misrepresented and exaggerated, and a decent 
pomp be held up to scorn as theatrical. 

Thus one Easter Day, April 15, 1666, Mr. Pepys goes to the 
King's Chapel at Whitehall : 

I staid till the King went down to receive the Sacrament, and stood in 
his closett with a great many others, and there saw him receive it, which I 

1 Official Year-Book of the Church of England, 1913, London, S.P.C.K. p. xxviii. 

" A new arrangement of the Liturgy, London, Baynes, 1820, p. iv. by a Gentleman 
late of the University of Oxford. 

3 Montagu Robert Melville, Esq., Reform not subversion I A Proposed Book of 
Common Prayer, London, Roake and Varty, 1834, P- 94. Canon xxviii. 


did never see the manner of before. But I do see very little difference 
between the degree of the ceremonies used by our people in the adminis 
tration thereof, and that in the Roman Church, saving that methought, our 
Chappell was not so fine, nor the manner of doing it so glorious, as it was in 
the Queene's chappell. 

He had before, on July 29, 1660, expressed his dislike of what 
he saw at Whitehall. 

To White Hall Chappell, where I heard a cold sermon of the Bishop of 
Salisbury's, Duppa's, and the ceremonies did not please me, they do so 
overdo them. 

Again Mr. Pepys shows his dislike of the Anglican ceremonies, 
for on April 22, 1666 he goes to the Queen's Chapel and 

there saw a little mayde baptized ; many parts and words whereof are 
the same with that of our Liturgy, and little that is more ceremonious 
than ours. 

On October 1 8, 1666 he is godfather at a Roman Catholic private 

But it was pretty, that, being a Protestant, a man stood by and was my 
Proxy to answer for me. A priest christened it and the boy's name is 
Samuel. The ceremonies many, and some foolish. 

Not altogether unlike in sentiment but less polite in speech is 
the following. Speaking of clergymen, Hickeringill advises : 

consequently handle him, as if he really were a Popish Priest; his 
Cope, his Hood his Surplice, his Cringing Worship, his Altar with Candles 
on it (most Nonsensically unlighted too) his Bag-Pipes or Organs, and in 
some places Viols and Violins, singing Men and singing Boys &c. are all 
so very like Popery, (and all but the Vestments illegal) that I protest when 
I came in 1660, first from beyond Sea to Pauls, and White- If all, I could 
scarce think my self to be in England, but in Spain or Portugal again, I 
saw so little Difference, but that their Service was in Latine and ours in 
English. 1 

This writer from his language seems to be a sour puritan ; for 
he dislikes Hood, Surplice, Organs or other musical instruments, and 
singing men and boys : and accordingly he proves to have been 
chaplain in a regicide's regiment, later a baptist, a quaker, and a 
deist ; after these, a soldier in foreign service, then fined for slander 
against Dr. Compton, Bishop of London, and finally convicted of 
forgery in 1707. But his evidence, as well as that of Pepys, shows 

1 Edm. Hickeringill, The Ceremony Monger, London, 1689, p. 18. 


how decency in divine worship, for it may well have been nothing 
more, presents itself to those who are unused to it. 

Following in the steps of Hickeringill, White Kennett, who is 
less excusable, for he must have known better, attempts to throw 
not merely derision on the devotion of the people, but suspicion 
upon their Churchmanship. He is writing in the reign of King 
George the First, about 1717, to a correspondent in America, and 
speaks thus of the practices in the English churches of his time. 

Some wou'd not go to their Seats in the Church till they had kneePd 
and pray'd at the Rails of the Communion Table ; they wou'd not be con 
tent to receive the Sacrament there kneeling, but with Prostration and 
Striking of the Breast, and Kissing of the Ground, as if there were an Host 
to be ador'd ; they began to think the Common Prayer without a Sermon 
(at least Afternoon) to be the best way of serving God ; and Churches 
without Organs had the thinner Congregations ; bidding of Prayer was 
thought better than praying to God, and even Pictures about the Altar 
began to be the Books of the Vulgar ; the Meeting-Houses of Protestant 
Dissenters were thought to be more denied Places than Popish Chapels : 
In short, the Herd of People were running towards Rome without any 
Foresight, or Power of looking backward. 1 

The same hatred of decent ceremonies is to be found in the 
second quarter of the eighteenth century. It is some evidence, 
moreover, that these ceremonies were kept up in the Church. 

With others, Name of Church doth signify 
A mere misplaced Zeal and Bigotry 
For Rites and Ceremonies, and these too 
The very worst and meanest of the Crew ; 
Such as perhaps the" Church might better spare, 
And more her Blemish than her Beauty are. 
Live as you list, this Man doth not regard ; 
Infringe her Doctrines too, he is not stirr'd ; 
But touch a Surplice, or an Eastern Nod, 
You wound his Darling, and blaspheme his God. 
Ask him but whence unlighted Candles came ? 
And streight the Man himself is on a Flame : 
Speak but against the Cross, he'l read your doom, 
That you deserve to hang in Gismas Room : 
He'd rather have two Easters in a year, 
Than to disturb the sacred Calendar. 
What most is scrupled, that he values most ; 
And rather would have all Dissenters lost 

1 The Life of the Right Reverend Dr. White Kennett, London, S. Billingsley, 1730, 
p. 126. 


Than old Translation should be refitted, 
Or Tobit and his Dog should be omitted. 
He joys when Service in the ChancePs read, 
Though half the People hear not what is sed. 
Adores an Organ, though he needs must know, 
That when the Heav'nly Boreas doth blow, 
The sense too oft is murder'd by the Sound, 
And many a Psalm feloniously is drown'd. 1 

And a writer who can hardly be other than Hoadly himself, in 
1735 attacks some acts of devotion, doubtless harmless enough in 

I have frequently, at the Celebration of this holy Supper, seen Per 
sons bow down, in the humblest Posture of Adoration (according to the 
Directions above cited) as the Minister, officiating, drew near to them 
with the Bread, or Wine. And, I doubt not, but others, in other Places 
may have seen the same. 2 

Hoadly is complaining of the directions that are given in cer 
tain books of devotion, which will be spoken of a little later on, to 
the communicant to prostrate himself before the Altar. 3 

The particular act of devotion attacked by White Kennett of 
going up to the Communion rail at first entering into church and 
then making some short act of worship may be, possibly, a follow 
ing of the Greeks who on first going into church pass to the icono- 
stasis and salute the holy icons. The kissing of the ground is 
also practised by the Orthodox. There are other instances in this 
age of an imitation of the Orthodox Easterns, which is certainly not 
evidence of a following of Rome. 4 

1 Ad Populum Phalerts : or the Twinn Shams, 1738, p. 6 (no printer or place), 
Bodleian Library, Gough, Lond. 150. 

2 [Benjamin Hoadly,] An Apologetical Defence, or a Demonstration of the Useful 
ness and Expediency of a late Book, entitled, A Plain Account of the Nature, and End, 
of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, London, T. Cooper, 1735, p. 22. The opinion 
that this tract was written by Hoadly himself is strengthened by a remark on p. 4. 
" Could any Thing be more worthy of, or more suitable to the Character of the reputed 
Author of the Plain Account than to attack this formidable Host ? " 

3 See below, p. 60. Hoadly (Apologetical Defence, p. 13 to p. 33) gives a convenient 
series of extracts from the books of devotion which he attacks. 

4 See below, p. 182. 


It may be well to add a few words upon expressions in our period that 
may not commonly have been looked for. For example the word viaticum 
is used by Evelyn in connexion with the death of Mrs. Godolphin. 1 It 
may also be found elsewhere. Dr. Gunning administers " the sacred 
viaticum " to Dr. Barwick, the Dean of St. Paul's. 2 The word is also much 
used by Anthony Sparrow in his Rationale in the chapter on the Com 
munion of the Sick. 

Of Dr. Turner, Dean of Canterbury, it is said that 

" The day before he surrendered his blessed soul into the hands of God, 
he received the Holy Sacrament very devoutly, conquering his aversion 
against anything offered to him to swallow ... yet he forced himself to 
receive the Viaticum" 3 

Dr. Ken, the deprived Bishop of Bath and Wells, in his Sermon at the 
death of the Lady Mainard, says : 

" On Whitsunday she received her viaticum^ the most holy body and 
blood of her Saviour, and had received it again, had not death surprised 
us, yet in the strength of that immortal food she was enabled to go out her 
journey." 4 

So Sir William Dawes, Archbishop of York, tells us that the Ancient 
Christians called the Communion of the Sick, the Viaticum. 5 Dr. John 
son uses the word of his last communion : " I have taken my viaticum : 
I hope I shall arrive safe at the end of my journey ". 6 

So Dr. Home, Bishop of Norwich, speaking of the operations of the 
Holy Ghost, says : 

"And it is marvellous to behold, as the excellent bishop Andrews 

1 See above, p. 24. 

2 The life of Dr. John Barwick, ed. by G. F. Barwick, Stewart Series, 1903, p. 179. 

3 Peter du Moulin, A Sermon . . . at the funeral of the Very Reverend Thomas 
Turner, London, Brome, 1672, p. 27. 

4 The Prose Works of . . . Thomas Ken, ed. J. T. Round, London, Rivington, 1838, 
p. 142. A sermon preached at the funeral of ... Lady Margaret Mainard, June 30, 

5 Sir William Dawes, An exact account of King George's Religion, London, J. 
Churchill, 1714, p. 6. 

6 Narrative by John Hoole, in G. Birkbeck Hill, Johnsonian Miscellanies, Oxford, 
1897, vol. ii. p. 155. 



observes, how, from the laver of regeneration, to the administration of the 
Viaticum^ this good Spirit helpeth us." l 

But a stranger expression is to be found in an odd story of what may 
be the last illness of King George the Fourth. It is said that the Arch 
bishop of Canterbury was about to administer the Host to the King : 

" One day whilst the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury waited upon His Majesty 
in order to administer to him the Holy Sacrament, one of the attendants 
some how or other so offended His Majesty, that he sternly forbid him the 
Royal Presence, and then turned round to the Arch- Bishop to receive the 
Host ; the Arch-Bishop, be it ever spoken to his praise, declined ad 
ministering the same until such time as His Majesty was more calm and free 
from anger. His Majesty bowed with submission and reverence ; sent for 
the servant ; shook him by the hand, sincerely forgave him ; and after a 
few moments spent in solemn devotion, received the ' living bread ' from 
the hands of the ' High Priest V 2 

In 1824 an unlooked-for expression does meet us. It is said of the 
Skinners' Company that they attend Divine Service at St. Antholin's Wat- 
ling Street on Corpus Christi Day. 

Words sometimes thought to be limited to the middle ages or to the age 
after the Tractarian movement began, are to be found in use. Parson 
Supple says : " your ladyship observed a young woman at church yesterday at 
even-song ". 3 

Another mediaeval word, the survival of which we should not have 
expected, is Pater nosier, for the Lord's prayer. 

Describing the " stately Altar-piece built Anno 1 706 and 7 " at St. 
Dunstan's in the East, the writer says : " here are also the Decalogue, and 
the Creed, and Pater Noster farther outward ". 4 

It may seem to others as well as to myself a pity that these three 
formularies, the foundations of morals, faith, and devotion should no longer 
be shown in our churches, as they were in the middle ages. They may, 
however, return, when the fury of the present fashion is exhausted. 

And in common conversation the word is used for the Lord's Prayer : 
Dry den makes a carrier say he knows the contents of a letter " as well as I 
do my Pater Noster ". 5 

Arbuthnot makes Peg, the sister of John Bull, take "a fancy not to say 

1 The works of the Right Reverend George Home, ed. by William Jones, London, 
Rivington, 1818, vol. ii. p. 352. Discourse xviii, the Unspeakable Gift. 

2 The Last Moments of our late beloved Sovereign Geo. IV. London, Elliot [1830], 
p. 8. 

a Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, Book IV. ch. x. (Works, ed. by A. 
Murphy and J. P. Browne, London, Bickers, vol. vi. p. 193). 

4 A New View of London, London, Nicholson and Knaplock, 1708, vol. ii. supple 
ment, p. 818. 

5 John Dryden, Sir Martin Mar-all, Act. ii. Sc. i, Works, London, Tonson, 1762, 
vol. ii. p. 109. 


her Pater noster". 1 Peg is Scotland; there the Presbyterians refused not 
only a Liturgy, but the saying of a fixed form, even if it had all the 
authority of the Lord's Prayer. 

Smollett makes use of the term when describing the devotions of an 
English sailor half frightened out of his wits by supposed apparitions : 
" So saying, he had recourse to his Pater noster." 2 

The word octave is sometimes thought to have come in with 1840, 
but we find it in Paterson's Pietas Londinensis of i7i4, 3 and in the times 
when marriages are prohibited it is also used, 4 even to the second decade 
of the nineteenth century. 4 

1 John Arbuthnot, History of John Bull, Part III. ch. ii. in Swift's Works, ed. 
Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 1814, vol. vi. p. 301. 

2 Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves, ch. vii. Hutchinson, 
1905, p. 71. First published in 1762. (Epitome.) 

3 p. 80. 4 See below, p. 260. 




A FAULT has been found with the period under discussion : it is 
stated that there were no early celebrations of the Eucharist, or 
only one in one day in the same church or chapel, until after 1833. 
But this statement will not bear investigation. It can be refuted at 
once by the instances out of Paterson. But to proceed in order of 
time. Two years after the Restoration, on Christmas Day 1662, 
Mr. Pepys describes what must be two celebrations of the Eucharist 
in one chapel, the Chapel Royal. One is early, the other late. 

Had a pleasant walk to White Hall, where I intended to have re 
ceived the Communion with the family, [i.e. the household] but I came a 
little too late. So I walked up into the house. ... By and by down to the 
chappell again, where Bishopp Morley preached. . . . The sermon done, 
a good anthem followed, with vialls, and then the King came down to 
receive the Sacrament. But I staid not. 

The same evidence is given by Evelyn, though we find that he 
made a better use of the opportunities of communion. On Easter 
Day, March 30, 1684, he tells us that he "had receiv'd the Sacra 
ment at White-hall early with the Lords and Household," that is, 
" the family " as Mr. Pepys calls it, but after service at St. Martin's, 
he returned again to Whitehall and saw the King communicate. 

There are also the time tables of the London churches beginning 
in 1692, which record communion at 6 and 7 in the morning. In 
1692 there are early communions at St. James' Chapel at 8, St. 
Lawrence Jewry at 6, and St. Martin's in the Fields at 6. 

To note more particularly the early celebrations in London 
churches as distinguished from the weekly. 

In 1704 there was holy communion every Sunday at St. 
Andrew's Holborn at 9 ; St. James' Chapel at 8 ; St. Lawrence 
Jewry at 6, except the first Sunday in the month when it may have 

4 8 


been at 10, as in 1728 ; St. Martin's in the Fields at 6, except the 
second Sunday, then most likely at noon, as in i6g2. 1 

In an edition some twenty years later there is very much the 
same number of churches with an early celebration, with these 
changes : there is added early communion every Sunday at St. Anne's 
Aldersgate at 6 ; St. Dunstan's in the West every Sunday at 9, every 
Saint's day, and the octaves of Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and 
Whitsunday, at 7 ; St. George's Chapel, Great Ormond Street, at 
10; St. Giles' Cripplegate at 9, possibly also at 6 ; at St. Lawrence 
Jewry the communion on the first Sunday in the month is said 
distinctly to be at io. 2 

While Dr. Horneck was Chaplain of the Savoy he had two 
celebrations, one at 7, the other at midday, on the great festivals. 3 
This would be before 1698. 

Paterson in 1714, of which the details are given above, 4 notes 
several parish churches where there are two celebrations in one day, 
at 7 and at noon. 

On Christmas Day, 1712, Swift goes to communion early: 

I was at St. James's chapel by eight this morning ; and church and 
sacrament were done by ten. 5 

On Easter Day, April 5, 1713, he reports: 

I was at church at eight this morning, and dressed and shaved after I 
came back. 6 

Arbuthnot, I think, makes an allusion to rising early for com 

They never had a quiet night's rest, for getting up in the morning to 
early sacraments. 7 

Early celebrations could not have been so rare if a writer could 
allude to them and expect to be understood by all. 

1 Rules for our more devout Behaviour, tenth edition, London, Keble, 1704, p. 
36, etc. 

2 ibid, fourteenth edition, London, Hazard, 1728, p. 35, etc. 

3 Richard [Kidder], Life of the Reverend Anthony Horneck, London, Aylmer, 1698, 
p. g. 

4 See p. 32, above. 

5 J. Swift, Journal to Stella, Dec. 25, 1712 (Works, ed. Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 
1814, vol. iii. p. 136). 

6 ibid. p. 199. 

1 The History of John Bull, Part III. ch. viii., Jon. Swift, Works, ed. Walter Scott, 
Edinb. 1814, vol. vi. p. 329. 



There are some few recorded cases of an early Easter celebra 
tion of the Eucharist in country churches, apparently at the end of 
the eighteenth or beginning of the nineteenth century. Mr. C. F. S. 
Warren says : 

In Professor [A.] Sedgwick's privately printed history of his father's 
parish of Dent, Yorkshire, he mentions an early Easter Celebration at the 
end of the last century [i8th], and lasting far into this. There was another 
in 1836 at Meifod, Montgomeryshire, where the father of Dr. Rowland 
Williams was vicar. 1 

The Rev. Dr. Fowler, Hon. Canon of Durham, wrote to me in 
1906 that at Ripon Minster there was from time immemorial at 7 
o'clock in the morning a celebration of the Eucharist on Easter 
Day; it was frequented by people from the various chapelries in 
the parish ; sometimes they walked great distances. Of late the 
hour has been altered to 8, and there is less attendance. 

In 1789, King George the Third communicated, most likely 
as an act of thanksgiving after one of his attacks. It was at 8 in 
the morning : 

Sunday March 15. The King this morning renewed his public service 
at church, by taking the Sacrament at eight o'clock. All his gentlemen 
attended him. 2 

William Windham, the well-known politician and friend of Dr. 
Johnson, writes thus on May 12, 1810, when told that he must 
undergo an operation, which proved fatal to him. 

1 2th. Walked out. Omitted foolishly to enquire at St. James's Church, 
otherwise should have learnt that there was to be an administration 
of the Sacrament at seven, which would just have suited me, as besides 
the privacy, I could have gone then before I took any physic. 3 

He thus preferred to receive Communion while fasting. 
This leads us to the consideration of the next section. 


During the first half of our period, Communion while fasting 
that day from all food must have been much easier than it is at 
present ; usually no food seems to have been taken until dinner, 

1 C. F. S. Warren, Church Times, August 24, 1888, p. 721, col. ii. 
3 Madame d'Arblay, Diary and Letters, London, 1842, vol. v. p. n. 
3 The Diary of the Right Hon. William Windham 1784 to 1810, edited by Mrs. 
Henry Baring, Longmans, 1866, p. 505. 


which was at noon-day, except by the luxurious and self-indul 
gent. 1 This refreshment was called the morning draught, it was 
probably beer, or else a bowl of broth or caudle. 2 The congrega 
tions which assembled for the Sunday morning service would have 
been, in a large proportion, fasting from all food, whether they in 
tended to communicate or not. 

In 1735, John Byrom notes quite by chance that he goes to 
church at St. Sepulchre's without breakfast. It does not appear 
that he went to communion, but it is an illustration of the custom 
of the people of that age to go without food until sermon was 
over. 3 

A German Count travelling in England in 1761 notes the 
English habit : 

People never dine in London before four o'clock, and take very little 
before that hour ... I did not deny myself the early cup of coffee to 
which I was accustomed, and this I followed by a good breakfast at ten 
o'clock, consisting of tea, bread and butter, and toast. 4 

Sparrow speaks as if not only were men commonly fasting 
up to noon, but that communion would not be thought of if men 
were not fasting. 

It was an ancient custom, after Burial to go to the holy Communion, 
unless the office were performed after noon. For then, if men were not 
fasting, it was done only with Prayers. Cone. Carth. 3, 29, Can. 5 

Still, whether the caution were needful or not, in the year of 
the Restoration, Jeremy Taylor reiterated the warning that Com 
munion should be received before any other food. 

1 Mr. Pepys, though well able to fast until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, even when 
up at 5 in the morning (July 4, 1662) yet took his morning draught. (Jan. 12, Feb. 3, 

2 " Sophia must always have her Jellies and Broths, and Caudles, and the Lord 
knows what, brought to her before she would venture her Carkas out of Bed." This 
is the luxurious woman ; while the good woman, " Aemilia never thought of Eating, 
till the very moment before she went into her Coach". ([A. Boyer,] The English 
Theophrastus, London, 1702, p. 42.) In Mrs. Centlivre's play, Love at a venture, Act i. 
Wou'dbe, the " silly projecting coxcomb," rises at five, yet has no food till dinner at 
one. (Works, London, 1761, vol. i. p. 270.) 

3 Richard Parkinson, The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom, 
Cheetham Society, 1855, Vol. I. part ii. p. 557. 

4 Count Frederick Kielmansegge, Diary of a Journey to England in the years 
1761-62. Longmans, 1902, p. 28. 

5 Anth. Sparrow, A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer ; Burial ; London, 
Garthwait, 1661, p. 355. 



It is a Catholic custome, that they who receive the Holy Communion 
should receive it fasting. This is not a duty commanded by God : but un- 
lesse it be necessary to eat, he that despises this custome, gives nothing but 
the testimony of an evil mind. 1 

And it was observed, this custom of fasting before Communion ; 
on Passion Sunday, March 31, 1661, there was an ordination at 
Christ Church Oxford, and one of the ordinands, a Fellow of New 

having been used to eat breakfasts and drink morning draughts, being 
not able to hold out with fasting, was troubled so much with wind in his 
stomach, that he fell in a sowne and disturb'd for a time the ceremony. 2 

Dr. Edward Lake, in the book written for the instruction of the 
Lady Mary and the Lady Anne, afterwards Queens of Great Britain 
and Ireland, writes thus : 

Having thus finished your Closet- Devotions, you go forth to the Church 
or Chappel fasting, so that a Portion from Gods Table may be the first 

The same direction is to be found in the edition of 1753, the 
thirtieth edition, the last of the eighteenth century. 

Henry Cornwallis, a country curate, writing on preparation for 
Holy Communion, advises thus : 

And thus I have led you to the Holy Communion : And for the in 
structing of your Behaviour there, take these few Rules. 

i. It hath been the Custom of well-disposed Christians, to receive the 
Sacrament fasting. 4 

The second rule deals with self-examination. William Nicholls 
gives this advice : 

It should also be received Fasting, for these Reasons, Because 

1 . Our Minds are clearest ; our Devotion quickest, and so we fittest 
to perform this high Service, when we are in our Virgin-Spittle. 

2. It is for the honour of so high a Sacrament, that the precious Body 
of Christ should first enter into the Christian's Mouth, before any other 
Meat. 5 

1 Jeremy Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, Book III. ch. iv. Rule xv. i, London, 
R. Roiston, 1660, vol. ii. p. 287. 

2 Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. by Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 
1891, vol. i. p. 388. Passion Sunday before the Reformation was a time for conferring 

3 Edw. Lake, Officium Eucharisticum, p. 63, Sunday morning. 

4 H[enry] C[ornwaleys], Brief Directions for our more Devout Behaviour in Time 
of Divine Service, sec. ed. London, 1693, P- 3&. 

5 William Nicholls, The Plain Maw's Instructor in the Common Prayer, London, 
M. Wotton, 1713, p. 48. 


This last paragraph is a translation of the well-known passage 
from St. Augustine : 

Numquid tamen propterea calumniandum est universae Ecclesiae 
quod a jejunis semper accipitur? Ex hoc enim placuit Spiritui sancto, ut 
in honorem tanti Sacramenti in os Christiani prius Dominicum corpus in- 
traret, quam ceteri cibi : nam ideo per universum orbem mos iste servatur. 1 

At the end of Johnson's Unbloody Sacrifice, in the Addenda im 
mediately before the Conclusion of the Second Part, he speaks of 
the practice of communicating before all food, and thinks it likely 
to have been the custom in the Primitive Church because they cele 
brated the Eucharist before daylight, and thus were in their fasting 
spittle. But he does not insist upon it as part of the preparation, 
but to be followed if the communicant find it exalts his devotion. 
On the other hand : 

there are many, who cannot communicate fasting without great Uneasi 
ness and Indevotion, unless they could go directly from their Bed to the 
Altar. 2 

As to receiving Communion while fasting the Pious Country 
Parishioner has these directions . 

If your Constitution be weak, or any great Inconvenience come from 
your Fasting the Morning you receive, use your Pleasure ; but if you are 
strong and healthy, 'tis best to abstain from Breakfast : for then, your 
Thoughts will be more fix'd ; and you will gain more time to your self, and 
the consecrated Bread will be, as it deserves, your first Food. 3 

But > in the thirteenth edition this direction is substituted : 

And you need not expose yourself to the Danger of Sickness, or any 
other Inconveniency, by total Abstinence ; but without being nice in such 
Matters, may take such a moderate Breakfast, as will keep your Spirits 
under the Length and Fervour of your Devotions. 4 

The New Week's Preparation was brought out to counteract the 
harmful influence and popish tendencies of a Week's Preparation, 
which it would seem was first published in 1679 ; though it was some 
years before the mischievous tendency of the older book was dis 
covered under the influence of Hoadly and his school. Yet in the 

1 S. Augustine, Ad inquisitioneslanuarii, lib. i. (seu epistola liv. ) Cap. vi. 8. (Migne, 
Patrologia Latina, xxxiii. 203). 

2 John Johnson, The Unbloody Sacrifice, London, Knaplock, 1718, Part II. p. 270. 

3 The Pious Country Parishioner, London, Pemberton, Sixth Edition, 1732, p. 182. 
The same paragraph is found in the Ninth Edition of 1747. 

4 ibid. 1753, p. 187. The same direction appears in the editions of 1801 and 1821. 
The edition of 1836 contains nothing about total abstinence or fasting. 


New Week's Preparation the custom of fasting communion is 
plainly encouraged. It may be that the first edition was in 1737, 
for the Author to the Reader there says he follows the old Week's 
Preparation "printed in this present Year, 1736," which contains 
" Abominable and Wanton Expressions ". 

The following advice is given in the edition of 1737 as well as 
in the later : 

The Meditation for Saturday Morning. 
Upon fasting before receiving the holy Sacrament. 
* * * 

[A dialogue between the soul and the body.] 

3. There are these things, O my soul ! I shall propose in this case ; if 
you find that my fasting makes you more devout w\& serious, and that you 
are in a better frame of mind, you should certainly choose to go to the sacra - 
ment fasting; or, if it be indifferent, and you are much the same whether 
I fast or not, and find it makes no change at all in you, I would for decency, 
and with regard to ancient practice accompany you to the sacrament fast 

The soul then pleads that it has contracted a habit of eating or 
drinking some light matter every morning and cannot do without 
it. It is answered : 

Yet, I say, that as neither God, nor the church has appointed the con 
trary, I would advise the morning abstinence on sacrament days, where the 
inconveniency of doing it is none ; but I must disapprove of it, if there be 
any inconveniency in abstaining. 

This meditation, always in the second not the first part, is to be 
found ,in editions of the New Weeks Preparation published as late 
as in 1795. 

When a book so widely used as the New Weeks Preparation, 
and so moderate, recommends the reception of communion before 
all food, it is hardly surprising to find records of individual cases of 
the practice at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the 
nineteenth century. 

The Rev. Dr. Fowler, Hon. Canon of Durham, writes to me that 
his great-grandmother went fasting to communion. 

Mr. Henry Jenner tells me of an ancestress of his whose custom 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century was to communicate 
fasting. She used to attend the daily service at St. Martin's in the 

1 The New Week's Preparation for a worthy Receiving of the Lord's Supper, Part 
II. London, Millar, 1789, p. 133. 


Fields or St. James' Piccadilly, and on Good Friday she ate nothing 
but one cross-bun. 

Mr. Albert Barff, when he had a parish in Berkshire about 1860, 
came across an old woman who was shocked at the idea of com 
municating after food. 

Mr. J. E. Vaux, writing in 1894, speaks of the practice of re 
ceiving communion when fasting. In a Berkshire parish an old 
woman in 1863 told the parson that her mother only communicated 
when fasting. At Liskeard in Cornwall it was also a " general, 
though not the universal custom " in the days of a clergyman's grand 
father. He gives also some other instances, all of which would 
come within our period, and he considers that these instances taken 
at haphazard from all parts of the country are some indication of a 
survival of the practice. 1 

The Archbishop of Canterbury of ill fame, Dr. Herring, suggests 
that " it would be necessary to order that the Lord's Supper should 
be administered after the Evening as well as after the Morning 
Service," thus to discourage the " superstitious reason " of fasting 
before communion. 2 This desire points out that the practice of re 
ceiving communion before all other food was in existence and 
needed in the writer's opinion to be checked. 

Knowing how easy prolonged fasting was to Dr. Johnson, and 
his strict principles, it might well be thought that he would have 
kept the fast before communion. But it was not so. He tells us 
expressly that he did not. For example : 

Easter Day, April 22, 1764. . . . 

I rose, took tea, and prayed for resolution and perseverance. 3 

then again, fifteen years later : 

Easter Day, April 4, 1779. 

I rose about half an hour after nine, ... by neglecting to count time, 
sat too long at breakfast, so that I came to church at the First Lesson. 4 

Johnson communicated on both occasions. 

The desire of Mr. William Windham in 1810 to communicate 
fasting has been spoken of above. 5 

1 J. E. Vaux, Church Folklore, London, Griffith Farran, 1894, P- 57- 

2 [T. Herring,] A new form of Common Prayer, London, Griffiths, 1753, p. 21. 

3 Prayers and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson, ed. Geo. Strahan, 
London, Cadell, 1785, p. 47. 

4 ibid. p. 171. 5 See above, p. 50. 



Robert Nelson recommends the reception of the Eucharist in 
the palm of the right hand supported by the left : 

The ancient Christians, in the time of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, received 
the Consecrated Element of Bread into the Palm of their right Hand, which 
being supported by their left, was so carry'd to their Mouths, that no por 
tion of that Divine Nourishment could fall to the Ground. I am not cer 
tain that the Church means this, when she orders her Officers to deliver 
the Sacrament to the People into their hands ; but I think the expression 
sufficiently justifies it, and therefore every Communicant may take the 
liberty of making use of it. 1 

This practice of receiving the communion in the palm of the 
hand diminishes the likelihood of fragments falling to the ground, 
an accident which has been guarded against since the days of Ter- 
tullian. 2 The houseling cloth held in front of the communicant is 
intended for the same purpose. Throughout our period, except in 
the cases of King William the Fourth, and of James the Second, 
the latter not communicating at all, a houseling cloth was held 
before the Kings and Queens of England at their communion 
during the coronation service. 

Further, the use of the houseling cloth has persisted in several 
parishes in England, and tradition asserts that in some of these 
cases the use of the cloth comes down from before the Reforma 
tion. At Wimborne Abbey the use of the cloth was threatened a 
few years ago from some mistaken notion of reverence. It actually 
did disappear from the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford, for 
a few years, but it is now happily restored. It is said to be still 
in use at St. Michael's and Holy Rood, Southampton ; and I have 
heard of other parishes. 

It is a pity that this accessory to reverence, that can be traced 
back so far in the history of the Christian church, should have met 
with but little encouragement in the restoration during the last 
century of many other ornaments of the church that were in use 
under Edward the Sixth. The Eucharist is a meal, taken in 
common, and any slight reminder that such is the case should not 
be put away as a profanation. We meet with such survival at a 
Lincolnshire village in the mid-eighteenth century, though Mr. 

1 Robert Nelson, The great duty of frequenting the Christian Sacrifice, London, 
Churchill, 1706, p. 67. 

2 Tertullian, de corona militis, cap. iii. (Migne, Pat. lat. ii. 80). 


Messiter is rather scandalised at the amount of wine provided at 
each communion, averaging an ounce and a half for each communi 
cant. This would however be little more than a mouthful for each 
communicant, and it may be mentioned that the celebrant in the 
Roman Communion is advised to take in the chalice about this 
amount. The figures given by Mr. Messiter are these : 

1744-1745 : Qts. 39. To Mr. R[omley]. 6 Bottles. 

In all 4. i os. od. 

1746-7 : Qts 33 wine us'd at Communion. 
6 to the Minister 

The above accounted for $. i8s. od. 
From Easter 48 to Do 49 : Qts 29. 

To the parson 6. In all ^3 ros. od. 1 

There is a rubric at the end of the Communion Service in the 
Book of Common Prayer beginning : 

And if any of the Bread and Wine remain unconsecrated, the Curate 
shall have it to his own use. 

The rubric may be an explanation of what is said "To the 
parson" so much. And as to the large quantity supposed to be 
consumed by each communicant, it must be remembered that the 
Eucharist is a feast, a feast upon a sacrifice. At the present day 
this is too often forgotten, and the amount of wine consecrated is 
extraordinarily small and mean, or diluted by Manichean clergy so 
much that it cannot be thought wine. 

In one church, St. Martin's in the Fields, in 1714, the Church 
wardens' accounts reveal something of a scandal : 

Paid by ditto, [churchwarden] for Sacrament wine (out of which a great 
part was drank in the vestry) 90. o. o. 2 

The excuse was made that there were many celebrations, every 
Sunday at least ; and that many people came to qualify for office 
under the Test Act ; but in this case it was not the parson but the 
churchwardens who had what remained to their own misuse. 


The books of devotion of our period frequently contain as a 
private prayer a form which, when sung as an anthem, was thought 
of sufficiently dangerous import to be charged against Dr. King, 

1 A. F. Messiter, Notes on Epworth Parish Life in the eighteenth century, Elliot 
Stock, 1912, p. 53. 

2 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1807, y ol. v. p. 210. 


the Bishop of Lincoln, in which suit judgement was delivered in 
the year 1890. It is the well-known prayer: "O Lamb of God, 
that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us ". 

The Whole Duty of Man, first published in 1658, had extra 
ordinary popularity thenceforward, and all through the eighteenth 
century. It has the following : 

Ejaculations to be used at the Lord's Supper. 
Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof. 

* * * 

O Lamb of God, which takest away the sins of the world, grant me 
thy peace. 

O Lamb of God, which takest away the sins of the world, have mercy 
upon me. 

Immediately before Receiving. 

Thou hast said, that he that eateth thy flesh, and drinketh thy blood, 
hath eternal life. 

Note we have Domine non sum dignus as well as Agnus Dei. 
In a book of which the second edition appeared in 1693 there is 
Domine non sum dignus only. 

When you receive the Consecrated Bread \ say ; Lord, I am not worthy 
thou shouldst come under my Roof : Yet I beseech thee, speak the Word, 
and my Soul shall be saved : Fill every corner of my Soul with thy Grace 
and Spirit. 1 

Dr. Bernard also recommends the same verse from St. Matthew 
at Receiving the Bread.' 2 ' It appears in the Roman Missal as a 
devotion for the celebrant immediately before he receives com 

To return to instances of Agnus Dei : Thomas Morer bids the 
communicant kneeling at the altar to say : 

O Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the World, grant me thy 

Lamb of God that takest away the Sins of the World, have Mercy 
upon me. 3 

In another book of prayers there is also to be said before com 
munion : 

1 H[enry] C[ornwaleys], Brief Directions for our more Devout Behaviour in Time 
of Divine Service, sec. ed. London, Robinson, 1693, p. 40. 

2 Edward Bernard, Private Devotion, Oxford, Litchfield and Clements, sec. ed. 1704, 
Signature G. 6. 

3 Thomas Morer, Kuriake Hemera, London, 1701, p. 569. 


O Lamb of God that takest away the Sins of the World, grant me thy 

O Lamb of God that takest away the Sins of the World, have Mercy 
upon me. 

. . . O Lord God, how I receive the Body and Blood of my most 
Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, the price of my Redemption, is the very 
wonder of my Soul ; yet I firmly believe upon the words of my Saviour, that 
at this time they are graciously tendered to me ; I am sure it is so, though 
I dispute not the manner. 1 

In James King's Sacramental Devotions which appeared in 1722 
and the eighth edition in 1752 the Communicant is told to say at 
Prostrating before the Altar : 

O Lamb of God, that takest away the Sins of the World, Grant me thy 

O Lamb of God that takest away the Sins of the World, Have Mercy 
upon me. 2 

The same form may be found just before Communion in a prayer 
book edited by the author of the Week's Preparation for the Sacra 
ment. 3 

The Pious Country Parishioner has the same form, to be said 
After the Consecration* and it continues thus in all editions that I 
have seen down to 1836. 

Immediately after Communion there are these devotions in a 
book appearing with Royal patronage. 

Lamb of God, who takest away the Sins of the World, have Mercy 
upon me : By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat, thy Cross and Passion, 
good Lord, deliver me. 5 

In Daniel Turner's private devotions, that remain still in manu 
script, after the words " being now spiritually about to partake of 
thy Flesh and Blood " there are found " Psalmodick Ejaculations 
at the Holy Table, O Lamb of God," etc. 6 

So again drawing towards the end of the century : 

1 An office or manual of devotions for the better observing the Lords-Day, London, 
Newborough, 1702, p. 24. 

2 James King, Sacramental Devotions, London, J. Hazard, 1722, p. 74. 

3 The Church of England-Marts Private Devotions, ... by the author of the 
Week's Preparation to the Sacrament. London, Warner, 1724, p. 56. 

4 Pious Country Parishioner, London, J. Pemberton, sixth edition, 1732, p. 187. 

5 Thomas Burnet, The Nature, Use and Efficacy of the Sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper, London, Bettesworth, 1731, p. 30. The book is dedicated " to His Royal 
Highness The Duke, and Their Royal Highness the Princesses Mary and Louisa". 

6 British Museum, Add. MS. 14,404 ff. 19 b and 20. For his life, see D.N.B. He 
died in 1741, 


O Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world have mercy 
upon me ; O lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world grant me 
thy peace. Amen. Lord Jesus. Amen. 1 

The widespread use of Agnus Dei as a private devotion imme 
diately before communion must be the explanation, I venture to 
think, of a circumstance told by the Rev. W. F. Clements, that the 
congregation in a Wiltshire parish used to repeat these words. The 
impression is given that the congregation said them aloud, to 
gether ; 2 but this would have been brawling. 

We have seen above that James King in his Sacramental Devo 
tions bids the communicant say at the moment of Communion 
certain prayers marked at Prostrating before the Altar* So Bishop 
Cosin has set before some prayers at Communion this rubric : 
When we are prostrate before the Altar .^ 

In the Pious Country Pa rishioner the communicant is given this 
direction, when he goes up to the altar before the Offertory : 

When you go to the Altar, fall prostrate, and say, 
Assist me, O Lord &c. 5 

There is the same direction in the ninth edition of 1745. But 
in the thirteenth, that of 1753, the fear of Hoadly or of his school 
had done its work, and the direction appears as : 

When you go to the Altar, meekly kneeling upon your Knees, say. 

This may be the equivalent vi prostrate. But the proper meaning 
of prostrate seems to be lying flat on the face. Dr. Bryan Duppa, 
who died Bishop of Winchester in 1662, thus defines the word: 

Of all these outward Gestures, Prostration is the lowest act of bodily 
Reverence that can be used, when the Supplicant casting himself upon the 
earth, acknowledgeth by that act, that he doth but cast dust to dust, that he 
is more vile than the least grain of that earth he lies upon ; and this 
posture best becomes us in times of great Affliction, and ever to be then 
lowest, when our necessities are at the highest. . . . 

But the more ordinary and more convenient for all persons, is Genu 
flection. 6 

1 Brief Rules for the Holy Communion, London, T. Evans, 1776, p. 8r. 
2 J. E. Vaux, Church Folklore, London, Griffith Farran, 1894, P- 6 9- 

3 J. King, Sacramental Devotions, London, Hazard, 1722, p. 74. 

4 John Cosin, >4 Collection of Private Devotions, London, Luke Meredith, 1693, p. 


5 The Pious Country Parishioner, London, Pemberton, sixth ed. 1732, p. 184. 

6 Bryan Duppa, Holy Rules and Helps to Devotion, London, Hensman, 1675, pp f 
108, in. Part the first 



During our period it was an admirable custom that Amen should 
be said by the communicant at the delivery of the sacred elements. 
Dr. Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely, who died in 1667, speaks of it 
thus in his suggestions for a revision of the rubrics : 

body and soul into j- everlasting Life. 
Answer , by tfie Receiver -, Amen. 1 

In a tract attributed to Aldrich there is : 

The Communicant to answer to it Amen : which without a Kubrick 
ever was and is still the Practice of the Church of England. 2 

This is a noteworthy affirmation. And still more to be observed 
is the teaching of the following catechism : 

Why do the Communicants usually answer Amen as soon as the Minister 
has said these Words? [the words of delivery]. . . . 

The Communicants answer Amen at the end of these Words to profess 
thereby their Faith of the mysterious Presence of Christ's Body and Blood 
in the Sacrament. 3 

Some few of the devotional works which suggest the practice will 
now be mentioned : 

And as you stretch out your hands to receive the Body or Blood of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, say, Amen. And lift up your Soul in Faith with this or 
the like Ejaculation, 

Come Lord Jesus unto thy humble servant. 4 

In 1724 the author of the Week's Preparation bids the com 
municant at receiving say Amen to the prayer used by the minister. 5 

James King in his Sacramental Devotions bids the Communicant 
say the words of delivery with the Priest; not a commendable 
practice, it may be added. After " Everlasting Life "he tells him 
to say, Amen? So, too, does Dr. Edward Lake; 7 and in Mrs. 

1 William Jacobson, Fragmentary Illustrations of the History of the Book of Com 
mon Prayer, London, Murray, 1874, p. 82. 

2 A reply to two discourses lately printed at Oxford concerning the Adoration of our 
Blessed Savioiir in the holy Eucharist, Oxford, 1687, p. 7. 

3 Edward Creffield, A Catechistical Explanation of the Dayly and Sunday Offices, 
London, S. Keble, 1713, p. 85. 

4 Rules for our more devout behaviour in the time of Divine Service, tenth edition, 
London, Keble, 1704, p. 50. Licensed Feb. n, 1686. 

5 The Church of England-Man's Private Devotions, ... by the author of the 
Week's Preparation to the Sacrament. London, T. Warner, 1724, p. 56. 

6 James King, Sacramental Devotions, London, J. Hazard, 1722, pp. 76, 77. 

7 Edw. Lake, Officium Eiicharisticum, p. 68. 


Hopton's book of devotions, at the end, under the title of the 
Sacrifice of a Devout Christian she adds the Amen to the words of 

The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for me, preserve 
my Body and Soul unto Everlasting Life. Amen. 1 

The first edition of the New Whole Duty of Man appeared in 
1737. It contains this direction : 

A hearty Amen to that excellent form, when the minister gives you the 
bread and wine, saying The body of our Lord etc. 2 

Passing into the nineteenth century we find the custom : 

When the Priest pronounces the words of delivery " Preserve thy body 
and soul etc." the communicant should answer, Amen ; a practice rigidly 
observed in the ancient church. 3 

To quote Ford again : 

When the Minister delivereth the Bread, he shall say \ 
The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve 
thy body and soul unto everlasting life.* 

*Say softly Amen ; for here it is most proper and here, therefore, it was formerly 
placed. 4 

It is much to be regretted that this ancient practice is now so 
widely given up. Yet in the middle of the nineteenth century, before 
the decadence of the last quarter set in, it was comparatively usual. 
Communicants could be heard plainly saying their Amen as the 
Eucharist was given to them. Now the practice has nearly dis 

Another insertion of Amen into the service was practised by Dr. 
Edward Bernard, the Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford 
towards the end of the seventeenth century. 

At the Prayer of Consecration, part is a prayer In which I joyn as humbly 
and devoutly as I can, and putt my Amen to it at the words may be partakers 
of his most blessed body and blood [Amen] who in the same night etc. At 
which consecration I look up to the priest and see what hee do[e]s, with 
these occasionall ejaculations, nor is there time to be found for more. 5 

The square brackets enclosing the Amen are in the original 

1 [Susanna Hopton,] A Collection of Meditations and Devotions, London, Mid 
winter, 1717, p. 415. 

2 The New Whole Duty of Man, London, Bent, 1819, p. 152. 

3 Richard Warner, Book of Common Prayer, Bath, Richard Cruttwell, 1806. 

4 James Ford, The new devout Communicant, Ipswich, J. Raw, 1825, p. 116. 

5 Bodleian Library, MS. Smith, 45, fo. 197. 


There is another instance of a similar practice. 

When the Priest pronounceth these words ; This is my Body, This is my 
Blood &c. say, Amen. And, Lord, I believe thy real spiritual Presence, 
beneficial to the Souls of Men. O Sacred Feast, wherein Christ himself 
is received, and the Memory of his Passion renew'd ; our Minds fill'd with 
Grace, and our future Glory secur'd by a dear and precious Pledge ! 1 

The part of this prayer beginning at sacred Feast is the anthem 
O sacrum convivium at Magnificat in second vespers of Corpus 
Christi, common to many breviaries, including the Sarum and 


In North Wales the sign of the Cross made by the communicant 
himself before communion persisted in the first half of the eigh 
teenth century. 

At the delivery of the^read and wine at the sacrament, several, before 
they receive the bread or cup, though held out to them, will flourish a 
little with their thumb to their faces, something like making the figure of a 
cross. 2 

Bishop Wetenhall speaking in the person of the communicant 
at the end of the service, says : 

I depart, prayers being ended, with a serious and chearful heart, and 
countenance ; I keep good thoughts in my mind, but yet pass not so re 
served, but that I cheerfully salute any of my Christian brethren, I have 
occasion ; remembering in the ancient Church, the Assemblies, especially 
after every Communion, parted with an Holy kiss ; very seasonable may it 
be, and a right charitable imitation of the feasts of Love> to invite any poor 
communicants home to my Table. 3 

Dr. Johnson intended to carry this last precept into practice on 
Easter Day 1765. 

I invited home with me the man whose pious behaviour I had for 
several years observed on this day, and found him a kind of Methodist, 
full of texts, but ill-instructed. I talked to him with temper, and offered 
him twice wine, which he refused. I suffered him to go without the 
dinner which I had purposed to give him. 4 

1 H[enry] C[ornwaleys], Brief Directions for our more Devout Behaviour in Time 
of Divine Service, sec. ed. London, 1693, p. 40. 

*From a MS. book of a Bp. of St Asaph, written about a century before publication 
in British Magazine, London, 1835, vol. vii. p. 399. 

3 [E. Wetenhall,] Enter into thy closet, 4th ed. London, Martyn, 1672, App. ch. viii. 
p. 406. 

4 Prayers and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson, ed. George Strahan, 
London, Cadell, 1785, p. 58. 


When the service is over, Dr. Edward Lake gives this direc 
tion, suggested it may be by Dr. Wetenhall : 

Arising and making your Reverence towards the Altar, you depart with 
a glad heart, and a chearful countenance ; preserve good thoughts in your 
mind; yet be not sullen or morose but salute any of your Christian Breth 
ren you meet with. 1 

In the same way, at the end of the Communion Service, Dor- 
rington thus advises the communicant : 

Then rising from your Knees, kindly and courteously salute your 
Fellow Communicants at the parting of the Congregation. 2 

It is very likely that these salutations were performed in the 
Church. At this point a Week's Preparation bids the Communicant : 

Here rising up, and making thine humble Adoration before the Throne of 
Glory, say, 

ZFallelujah ; Salvation be unto our God, and to the Lamb for ever. 

Depart with a glad heart, and a chearful Countenance? 

This " humble adoration " must be a bow to the altar. It is so 
called in the Coronation Service of William and Mary, 4 and thus 
continues even to the office of our present Gracious Sovereign. 

The rubric inserted first in 1662 that the Consecrated Species 
are not to be carried out of the church, but eaten and drunken by 
the priest and communicants immediately after the blessing, was 
directed against the profanity of the Puritans, or else it was a vain 
attempt to stop the gibes of Roman Catholics. Up to 1662 there 
was nothing in the rubrics of any of the recensions to forbid the 
priest carrying the Eucharist from the church to the sick man ; he 
was to minister the Sacrament to him and to those assembled to 
communicate with him, not to celebrate the Eucharist. But after 
1662 this was no longer lawful. A distinct office for the celebration 
of the Eucharist in the sick man's house, if not in his chamber, was 
provided, and the consecrated species were not to be taken out of 
the church. 

But like some other new rubrics it seems to have been long in 

1 Edw. Lake, Officium Eucharisticum, p. 74, end of service. 

2 Theophilus Dorrington, A Familiar Guide to . . . the Lord's Supper, London, 
Aylmer, 1695, p. 163. 

3 A Week's Preparation, 43rd ed. 1728, p. 156. 

4 J. Wickham Legg, Three Coronation Orders, Henry Bradshaw Society, 1900, p. 


making its way. Anthony Sparrow in the editions of the Rationale 
published after the year 1662 takes no notice of the direction that 
the Eucharist is not to be carried out of the church, only repeating 
the injunction of former editions that according to the Canon Law 
what is consecrated is " all to be spent with fear and reverence by 
the Communicants, in the Church". 1 Another new rubric, that at 
the time of the offertory the priest is to place so much bread and 
wine upon the Holy Table as shall be sufficient, was, we know, 
widely disregarded. So that Thorndike in a treatise written be 
tween 1670 and 1672 is apparently not conscious that he is saying 
anything opposed to the rules of the Church when he recommends 
that the Eucharist be reserved between each celebration for the 
sick and dying. 

4. And thus far I will particularize, as concerning the eucharist : 
that the Church is to endeavour the celebrating of it so frequently, that it 
may be reserved to the next communion. For in the mean time it ought 
to be so ready for them, that pass into the other world, that they need 
not stay for the consecrating of it on purpose for every one. The reason 
of the necessity of it for all, which hath been delivered, aggravates it 
very much in danger of death. And the practice of the Church attests it 
to the utmost. Neither will there be any necessity of giving it in one kind 
only ; as by some passages of antiquity may be collected, if common reason 
could deceive in a subject of this nature. 2 

It is still more remarkable that the practice of reserving the 
eucharist for the sick seems to have persisted in certain places, 
almost into our time, as the late Bishop of Salisbury, Dr. John 
Wordsworth, found in his own diocese. 

And I am inclined to think that something like the custom of the first 
Prayer-book, which is really nothing but a slight extension on one side and 
restriction on the other of the primitive custom described by Justin Martyr 
in the second century, viz., that of sending Communion by the Deacons 
to the absent (Apol. i. 67), has had a greater traditional continuance among 
us than is perhaps generally supposed. I have heard of a case of the 
sacrament being taken to a sick woman directly after a public celebration 
at Corfe Castle, fifty years ago, and I am told that the like tradition exists 
at Pentridge. I shall be glad to know if it can be traced elsewhere. 3 

1 Anth. Sparrow, A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer, London, Garth- 
wait, 1661, p. 279. The Communion. " Fear and reverence " are a translation of " cum 
tremore et timore " of the Canon Law. (Gratian, Decreti iii. pars, de consecr. dist. ii. 
cap. xxiii. Corpus luris Canonic, ed. Richter & Friedberg, Tauchnitz, 1879, t. i. col. 1321.) 

2 Herbert Thorndike, The Reformation of the Church of England better than that 
of the Council of Trent, ch. xxxix. 4, in Works, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1854, vol. v. p. 578. 

3 John Wordsworth, Further considerations on Public Worship, Salisbury, Brown, 
1901, p. 15. 



Whether the following notes from Clay worth, made in 1677, 
record an instance of this practice on the particular Good Friday 
there named is uncertain. It may be that the rector celebrated 
again " in their houses " besides the public celebration in the church ; 
but three private celebrations besides the public celebration seem to 
demand a great trial of strength for the parish priest. There is 
besides no record of those who were appointed to communicate 
with the sick, who are, it may be noted, in each case three in 
number, and are spoken of in the plural. 


April 8th. Palm-Sunday at Sacrament 57. Thomas the son of Thomas 
Collingwood Labourer, & of Alice his Wife baptiz'd. 

1 3th. Good- Friday; Communicants 43 ; & at home in their houses 
such who were ill, 3. 

1 5th. Easter-day; Communicants 106; and i6th at Francis John 
son's house such as were ill, 3. 1 

If other instances become known, the case may become clearer. 

There is a circumstance connected with the last communion of 
Dr. Cosin, the Bishop of Durham immediately after the Restora 
tion, which may be interpreted either to mean communion by 
intinction, or to mean that the species of bread was to be dipped 
in unconsecrated wine to render swallowing more easy ; the reader 
may form an opinion as he is disposed. The Bishop 

desired to have 2 Divines who were the King's Chaplaines then attend 
ing at Whitehall to be sent for to him, and when they came desired 
them to pray with him, and that he might receive the Sacrament . . . 
and being thus ill the Divines asked him whether he would have the bread 
only dipped in wine, and so take it, he answered, ' No, he would take it 
in both kinds ' . . . And so, within half an hower after he had taken the 
Sacrament, dyed as if he had been going to sleepe. 2 


It may be worth while to record here the opinions of some 
strong Churchmen, Hamon L'estrange, John Evelyn, Robert Nelson, 
and William Stevens, all laymen, on the doctrine of the holy 

Hamon L'estrange the layman, who published immediately 

1 Harry Gill and Everard L. Guilford, The Rector's Book Clay worth Notts, Nott 
ingham, Saxton, 1910, p. 29. 

2 The Correspondence of John Cosin, Surtees Society, 1872, vol. Iv. part ii. p. xxxviii. 
Hunter MSS. ix. 294, most likely at Durham. 


before the Restoration a comparative study of the first book of 
Edward the Sixth, the Scottish Liturgy, and the Elizabethan book, 
comments thus on the Prayer of Consecration : 

Saying, Take eat, this is my Body^\ 

The recital of these words pass in the common vogue for a Consecration ; 
were I Romishly inclin'd, I should rather impute unto them the power of 
Transubstantiation, for that a bare Narrative can be qualified to consecrate, 
is certainly new Divinity, unknown to Scripture, and Antiquity interpreting 
it : Therefore I must adhere in judgement to those learned men, who de 
rive Consecration from the word of God and Prayer, the very way by which 
our Saviour himself sanctified those Elements in his first institution. 1 

In 1671, Evelyn was desired by a certain Father Patrick to 
give him an account in writing of the Eucharistic doctrine of the 
Church of England. 

The doctrine of the Church of England is, or at least to my best un 
derstanding, imports, that after the prayer, or words of consecration, the 
symbols become changed into the body and blood of Christ, after a sacra 
mental, spiritual, and real manner; and that all initiated, or baptized 
persons, of competent age and capacity, who by unfained repentance, and 
a faithful consideration of the life, doctrine, and passion of our B. Saviour, 
resolve to undertake his holy religion, and to persist in it, are made realy 
participants of the benefits of his body and blood for the remission of 
their sins, and the obtaining of all other spiritual graces ; inasmuch, as it 
is a revival of the sacrifice of Christ on the crosse, once offered for sin, and 
for ever effectual ; and a renewing of the covenant of grace to the penitent. 

But she who affirmes this, holds also, that even after the words of con 
secration (or, rather, efficacy of the benediction) the bodily substance of 

the elements remaine. 

* * * 

And upon this account, the mysterious presence of Christ she holds to 
be a greate miracle, engaging the infinite power of God, to render the flesh 
and blood of Christ so present in the elements by effect and benediction, 
as that the worthy receiver as really communicates in reference to his spirit, 
as he sacramentally communicates in reference to his body ; the mystical 
presence being present with the material, by a supernatural conjunction 
realy tendered to the faithfull. 2 

Also we may note the agreement of Robert Nelson with the 
opinion that there should be a celebration of the Eucharist every 

They that are acquainted with Ecclesiastical History, know very well, 
that the Eucharist in the purest ages of the Church, made a part of their 

1 Hamon L'estrange, Esq.; The Alliance of Divine Offices, ch. 7, letter K. 
London, Broom, 1659, p. 215. It went through two more editions, in 1690 and 1699. 

2 Diary of John Evelyn, ed. Bray and Wheatley, Bickers, 1879, vol. iii. p. 382. 



Publick Service ; and when the Devotion of Christians began to decline, 
they yet always upon the Lord's Day celebrated the Christian Sacrifice. Our 
Second Service at the Altar seems defective without a conformable Practise 
to Antiquity in this point, and the Holy Exercises of the Lord's Day appear 
to want their due Perfection without these Eucharistical Devotions. To 
this purpose, our Church has encouraged a constant weekly Communion, 
by permitting it to be celebrated where three or four Persons are ready and 
willing to Communicate, as being assured by our Saviour that where two or 
three are gathered together in his Name, there he is himself in the midst of 
them. And if the Parochial Minister should begin with such a small Num 
ber, it is likely they would quickly increase, at least it will demonstrate his 
own Zeal to shew forth the Lord's Death, and may bring a Blessing upon 
his Parish, as well as upon the other Labours of his Holy Function. 

In Order to quicken the establishing of this Primitive Devotion, I can 
not forbear suggesting an Observation made by several of the Reverend 
Clergy, who have been zealous in this Matter, That where Communions 
have been frequent, the Number of the Communicants have sensibly increased ; 
which, I think, ought to be no small encouragement to have the Holy 

Mysteries celebrated in all Parish Churches every Lord's Day. 1 


William Stevens, born in 1732, died in 1807 : though a layman, 
he devoted himself to the study of theology, and shortly before his 
death edited the Works of Jones of Nayland. In 1773 he published 
under the name of a Layman his treatise on the Church, which went 
through numerous editions. 

The reason why deacons were not allowed to consecrate the Lord's 
Supper was because this sacrament was always believed to succeed in the 
place of sacrifices ; and as none beside the high priest, and inferior priests, 
were permitted to offer sacrifices under the Jewish law, so none but bishops 
and presbyters, who alone are priests in the Christian sense of that name, 
consecrated the Lord's Supper? 

The large number of editions of this work, the last in 1833, 
testifies to the support given to his opinions. 

From the opinions set forth by the laity themselves we may 
turn to the teaching contained in the books written for them and 
used by them during our period. 

So immediately after the Restoration, Annand writes : 

The bread is blessed ; that is, prayer is made that the bread might be 

1 Robert Nelson, The great duty of frequenting the Christian Sacrifice, London, 
Churchill, 1706, preface, A 3, b. 

2 William Stevens, A treatise on the nature and constitution of the Christian 
Church, new ed. Rivington, published by desire of the Society for promoting Christian 
Knowledge, 1810, p. 28. 


to the faithful soul the body of Christ broken for its sin, and after the 
institution is read it becomes so. 1 

Daniel Brevint, noted for his protestant attitude, writes thus of 
the Eucharist in what is perhaps his best known work : 

This Bread, which is the Body of the Lord, continues new. 2 
Further on : 

Therefore whensoever Christians approach to the dreadful Mystery, 
and to the Lamb of God lying and sacrificed (as some say the holy Nicene 
Council speaks) upon the holy Table ; it concerns their main interest in 
point of Salvation, as well as in other duties, to take a special care, not to 
lame, and deprive the grand Sacrifice of its own due Attendance. 8 

Comber, Dean of Durham, puts into the prayers of his com 
municants such expressions as these : 

Thou hast made me drink of thy blood and given me thy Soul, thy 
Life, and thy Spirit. 4 

later on : 

When by Faith I see that Body which all the Angels of Heaven wor 
ship. 5 

and again : 

my Ccelestial food, the Bread that came down from Heaven. 6 

In a very popular book of devotion there are these expressions : 

In this thy Holy Sacrament, thou communicatest Body and Blood, 
Flesh and Spirit, thy whole Manhood, yea, thy very Godhead too. 7 


Much has been said in the way of denial of the existence of 
teaching in the Church of England that the Eucharist is a sacrifice. 
As an answer to this, it is enough to point to John Johnson or to 
Waterland as authors of repute who have maintained this doctrine. 
Yet it may be useful to examine the teaching of other divines 

1 William Annand, Fides Catholica, London, T. R. for Edward Brewster, 1661, p. 


2 Daniel Brevint, The Christian Sacrament and Sacrifice, Oxford, 1673, p. 15. 

3 ibid. p. 94. 

4 Thomas Comber, A Companion to the Altar, London, Martyn, 1675, Partition III. 
Sect. iii. 13, p. 284. 

5 ibid. 4, p. 276. 6 ibid. 6, p. 277. 

7 A Week's Preparation, Monday's Meditations in the Morning, 43rd ed. Keble, 
1728, p. 4. 


in the Church of England who may be cited to speak on this point 
during our period. 

Dr. Stillingfleet, when Bishop of Worcester, in what may be 
his last Charge, speaks of Christian Priests offering sacrifices in 
common with priests of all other religions. 

But it is the peculiar Honour of the Christian Religion, to have an 
Order of Men set apart, not meerly as Priests, to offer Sacrifices (for that 
all Religions have had) but as Preachers of Righteousness, to set Good and 
Evil before the People committed to their Charge. 1 

Robert Nelson must be admitted as a representative Churchman. 
He writes : 

Q. What was the End and Design of instituting the Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper? 

A. To be the Christian Sacrifice, wherein Bread and Wine are offered 
to God, to acknowledge him Lord of the Creatures ; and accordingly in 
the ancient Church they were laid on the Table by the Priest, as they are 
still order'd to be done by the Rubrick in the Church of England, and 
tendred to God by this short Prayer, Lord, we offer thy own out of what 
thou hast bountifully given us ; which by Consecration being made Symbols 
of the Body and Blood of Christ, we thereby represent to God the Father 
the Passion of his Son. . . . 

Q. After what manner was the Consecration of the Elements of Bread 
and Wine performed in the primitive Church ? 

A. The Priest that officiated, not only rehearsed the Evangelical His 
tory of the Institution of this Holy Sacrament, and pronounced those 
words of our Saviour, this is my Body, this is my Blood ; but he offered up 
a Prayer of Consecration to God, beseeching him, that he would send 
down his Holy Spirit upon the Bread and Wine presented to him on the 
Altar, and that he would so sanctifie them, that they might become the Body 
and Blood of his Son Jesus Christ ; not according to the gross Compages 
or Substance, but as to the Spiritual Energy and Vertue of his Holy Flesh and 
Blood, communicated to the blessed Elements by the Power and Opera 
tion of the Holy Ghost descending upon them ; whereby the Body and 
Blood of Christ is verily and indeed taken by the Faithful in the Lord's Supper? 

It should be remembered that this work is said to have had the 
largest sale in England of any book except the Bible. 3 

The holy Bishop of Sodor and Man, whose > Sacra Privata was 
the standard book of prayer for most English Churchmen until the 
middle of the nineteenth century, puts this prayer before the 
communicant : 

1 Edward Stillingfleet, Ecclesiastical Cases, London, Mortlock, 1698, p. 5. 

2 Robert Nelson, A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts, London, Churchill, 1705, 
third ed. p. 490. 

3 See below, ch. xi. p. 339. 


Immediately after the Consecration. We offer unto Thee, our King and 
our God, this bread and this cup. 

We give Thee thanks for these and for all Thy mercies, beseeching 
Thee to send down Thy Holy Spirit upon this sacrifice, that He may make 
this bread the Body of Thy Christ, and this cup the Blood of Thy Christ : 
and that all we, who are partakers thereof, may thereby obtain remission of 
our sins, and all other benefits of His Passion. 1 

John Johnson, the author of the Unbloody Sacrifice and Altar 
published in 1718, and Waterland, the author of A Review of the 
Doctrine of the Eucharist as laid down in Scripture and Antiquity, 
published in 1737, could not agree in their teaching on the nature 
of the Eucharistic sacrifice, but both taught that there was a 
sacrifice in the Eucharist. 

Christopher Beeke took his M.A. from St. John's College Cam 
bridge in 1740, and he died in 1798, aged 89. He seems to have 
seen that Johnson, the author of the Unbloody Sacrifice, and Water- 
land, were really at one in their teaching on the sacrifice in the 
Eucharist but did not understand one another's words. 

The Heart of the Question, therefore, turns upon this Point, viz. 
Whether the Fathers had the same Notion of a material Sacrifice that Dr. 

Waterland has? If they had, certain it is, they did not believe the Ele 
ments to be a Sacrifice, properly so call'd, tho' they frequently so called 
them : But if they had not that Notion, then there is great Reason to con 
clude, that they believed the Elements to be properly what they called 
them, viz. a Sacrifice. That they rejected all material Sacrifice, in Dr. 

WaterlancCs sense, is beyond all Question ; and so it is, that they did not 
reject all material Sacrifice in Mr. Johnson's Sense ; for Fathers, Councils, 
Liturgies do all conspire, in teaching the Eucharist to be a material 
Offering, an Offering or Oblation of Bread and Wine, as Figures, &c. for a 
Memorial of the grand Sacrifice? 

Samuel Hardy took his degree at Cambridge from Emmanuel 
College in 1741. In 1784 he was Rector of Little Blakenham in 
Suffolk and Lecturer of Enfield in Middlesex. He edited a Greek 
Testament in 1768 which he dedicated to the Archbishop of Canter 
bury, Dr. Frederick Cornwallis. This passed through three editions 
at least. He also published a number of works on the Eucharist, 
urging daily communion, or at least every Sunday, and insisting upon 
the doctrine of a material, true, and proper sacrifice in the Eucharist, 
maintaining that the Eucharist is consecrated by the descent of 

1 Thomas Wilson, Sacra Privata, Sunday, Lord's Supper, in Works, Oxford, J. H. 
Parker, 1860, vol. v. p. 74. 

2 Christopher Beeke, The Eucharistical Sacrifice, London, Astley, 1739, p. 163. 


the Holy Ghost upon the elements. He died in 1793, aged 73. 
But though such a scholar, and so prolific a writer, yet his name 
does not appear in the Dictionary of National Biography ', and I 
can only find his works on the Eucharist in the catalogue of the 
British Museum. 

To begin with the Eucharist prov'd to be a Material Sacrifice. 
Against the Lutherans and Calvinists he affirms, while rejecting the 
doctrine of the Papists, as follows : 

But to deny that the Eucharist is a true and proper, tho' Representative, 
Sacrifice, is to err in the contrary extream. (p. 4.) 

In the next page he attacks Waterland : 

The latest and best Writer [Waterland] against this Doctrine has 
passed over the best and strongest Arguments that are brought to prove 
the Eucharist to be a Material Sacrifice : I mean the Determinations of 
General Councils : the Ancient Liturgies ; and the express Words of Jesus 
Christ, and his Holy Apostles, (p. 5.) 

From thisghe foresees that the Consequence must be that 

The Christian Sacrifice would be constantly offered, and as constantly 
received by all the Faithful, (p. 6.) 

He proclaims that 

the Apostles were, and consequently that all their Successors were to be, 
sacrificing Priests, (p. n.) 

In the first page of the Appendix he goes so far as to speak of 
the presence of the Natural Body and Blood of Our Lord in 
the Eucharist. 

When we place the Bread and Wine upon the Altar, (which is done 
immediately before the Prayer for the Church Militant), we solemnly offer 
them to Almighty God. And this we believe our Church countenances by 
directing us to beseech God to accept our Alms and Oblations. . . . We 
believe that the Holy Ghost descends upon them, and makes them, in 
Divine Construction the Natural Body and Blood of Christ. 

He had published in 1746 a work with the title of: 

The Indispensable Necessity of Constantly Celebrating the Christian 
Sacrifice, plainly proved from Scripture and Antiquity. (London, Hitch, 
etc. 1746.) 

in which he presses upon Churchmen the importance of the 
Eucharist in the Reformation of Manners : 

But Men may talk what they will of Reformation, and propose a thou 
sand Schemes to bring about a Change; but, while the Eucharist is 


neglected as it is, in vain may we expect to see the Morals of the People 
mended, (p. 2.) 

In 1 763 Samuel Hardy published another work which he intended 
as an answer to Warburton's Rational Account. He dedicated this 
answer to the clergy and its title is 

A new plain and scriptural Account of the nature and ends of the holy 
Eucharist, London 1763. 

Of the notions contained in this work the following extracts 
may give some idea : 

You cannot, my Reverend Brethren, but know that our Reformers 
laboured hard to restore the Practice of Daily Communions. It is certain 
too, that they embraced the Sacrificial Notion of the Eucharist, (p. [vii].) 

* * * 

Mr. Mede had declared, that the Notion of a Sacrifice in the Eucharist 
would be sufficiently established, if the Priest was directed to place the 
Bread and Wine upon the Holy Altar, (p. [viii].) 

* * * 

By the word Oblations in the Prayer for the Church Militant, the 
Convocation meant the Bread and Wine. From all which it is certain, 
that the Doctrine of our Church, concerning the Eucharistical Sacrifice is 
the same Now, as it was Then. (pp. viii-ix.) 

Towards the end of his life Samuel Hardy determined to set 
down a permanent record of his opinions in a work that he intended 
to live. It was published in 1784 and he dedicates it to the Bishops 
and Clergy of England. In the dedication he says : 

The Primitive Notions of the Eucharist, which surely were founded on 
Gospel Principles, and some Years ago prevailed in the Church of England, 
and were indeed its chief Support, have been ridiculed of late ; and, as 
if Ridicule was indeed the Test of Truth, as Shaftsbury pretended, Men 
have suffered themselves to be laughed out of their Strong Holds, and are 
now exposed, naked and defenceless, to the Storm ! And there is but one 
Being in the Universe who can shelter us ! 

Indeed since our Altars have been forsaken, Dissentions have been 
greatly multiplied ; Dissentions, which now disgrace this Country, and 
endanger our Liberty. And can we wonder at it, if the very Band of 
Union, which is the Eucharist, be neglected by us ! For since the Bread is 
One, we, being many, are One Body ; for, we are all Partakers of that 
One Bread ! 

It has indeed been insinuated, sometimes, that the Asserters of a 
Material Sacrifice in the Eucharist, have a Tendency to Popery ; and that 
the Notion itself leads directly to Transubstantiationl 

1 Samuel Hardy, The Scripture-Account of the Nature and Ends of the Holy Eu 
charist, London, Benjamin White, 1784. Dedication, p. ix. 


Thus even in what is called the darkest hour of the Church of 
England the doctrine of a material and proper sacrifice in the Euch 
arist did not cease to be asserted. That there is a sacrifice com 
memorative, if nothing more, is also taught. Commenting on the 
parable of the Prodigal Son and the return of the Gentiles, Dr. 
George Home, Bishop of Norwich, says : 

And, lastly, the ministers were to prepare the Christian sacrifice, on 
which the now accepted Gentiles were to feast at the table of their 
heavenly father, singing and making melody to the Lord, with angels and 
archangels and with all the company of heaven. 1 

Dr. William Cleaver, Bishop of Chester, published at Oxford 
with the imprimatur of the Vice-Chancellor a sermon in which it is 
assumed that we are commanded to eat and drink the body and 
blood of our Lord in form of a feast on a sacrifice. 

But if we are commanded to eat and drink this body and blood in 
form of a feast on a sacrifice ... it would increase the difficulty to 
suppose, that we do not obtain these benefits in a way analogous to that, 
by which the benefits are derived from every sacrifice. 2 

The Bishop also published about the same time another sermon, 
in which we find the acknowledgement that the doctrine of a 
material Sacrifice in the Eucharist was held by writers of great 
weight and character in the English Church. 

The great object with our Reformers was, whilst they acknowledged the 
doctrine of the Real Presence, to refute that of Transubstantiation ; as it 
afterwards was to refute the notion of Impanation or Consubstantiation. 

They took much pains likewise to shew from the Scriptures, as well as 
from the authority of the earlier Fathers, that this rite was not a material 
Sacrifice ; an idea which later Writers notwithstanding, of great weight and 
character in our Church, have still supported. 

* * * 

I see nothing plainer, no interpretation of this Sacrament more easy 
and simple, none more rational, than that it is a representation and 
memorial of that Sacrifice, or, in the language of our Church, " a continual 
remembrance of the Sacrifice of the death of Christ," as well as the means 
by which every man may apply to himself the new Covenant of grace, pur 
chased by that Sacrifice. 3 

1 George Home, Discourses on several Subjects and Occasions, third ed. London, 
1799, vol. ii. p. 331. 

2 William Cleaver, Pardon and Sanctification proved to be privileges annexed to 
the due use of the Lord's Supper, as a feast upon a sacrifice, Oxford, Fletcher, 1791, p. 

3 William Cleaver, A Sermon on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Oxford, 
Fletcher, 1790, pp. 2, 17. 


The famous Jones of Nayland who died in 1800, speaks thus of 
the alms to be given during the collection at the offertory : 

when with the holy oblation of Christ's body and blood, it is right we 
should offer ourselves and our worldly substance to be consecrated with the 
offering of the eucharistic sacrifice. 1 

In another place, insisting that the Church is holy, he adds : 

It is holy in its sacraments ; our baptism is an holy baptism, from the 
Holy Spirit of God ; the Lord's Supper is an holy sacrifice. 2 

Sir George Pretyman Tomline, who was Bishop of Lincoln from 
1787 to 1820, published a Refutation of Calvinism, with other works 
in Divinity. In commenting upon the thirty-first Article of Religion 
he says the Eucharist 

is a commemorative and not a propitiatory sacrifice; it is not itself a 
sacrifice for sin, but it is a feast upon a sacrifice. 3 

So again only eight years before the rise of the Tractarian Move 
ment we find the following teaching given to communicants : 

As the Eucharist takes place of the Sacrifice of the temple, it is, 
therefore, not improperly called Christian Sacrifice . . . the represen 
tation of Christ's own offering or sacrifice, from whence the Altar of his 
church has its name. 4 


The Puritans tried to make the celebrant say in the reading 
desk, not at the altar itself, the Missa Catechumenorum as the Latins 
or Typica as the Greeks call it, or Table Prayers as it was mockingly 
named some sixty years ago. The Puritans did not want frequent 
Communion, and the celebrant going up to the altar reminded them 
that this second service was about to begin. Churchmen, therefore, 
tried to insist on the second service being said at the altar, with the 
teaching which the going up to the altar involved. 

The Priest standing at the Communion Table, seemeth to give us an 
Invitation to the Holy Sacrament, and minds us of our Duty, viz. To 

^William Jones (of Nayland), Churchman's Catechism, in Works, Rivington, 1801, 
vol. xi. p. 419. 

2 idem. Essay on the Church, ibid. vol. iv. p. 403. 

3 George Pretyman [Tomline], Elements of Christian Theology, London, 1709 vol 
H. P- 507. 

4 James Ford, The new devout Communicant, 5th ed. Ipswich, 1825, PP- 14 and 15. 


Receive the Holy Communion, some at least every Sunday ; and though 
we neglect our Duty, 'tis fit the Church should keep her standing. 1 

A little later on Dr. Bisse says much the same : 

And as the Church gives it the name of the Communion-Service, so it 
orders it to be read at the Communion-Table : and thus by retaining the 
ancient place and name, as memorials of her primitive zeal, she testifies to 
all her Children, that there ought to be now in these days, as in the days of 
old, an holy Communion, whenever this Service is appointed, that is, on 
every Lord's-day and on every Holy-day, whether a Festival or Fast. 2 

Dr. Seeker, when Bishop of Oxford, argues from this use of the 
first part of the Eucharist that it is an indication of a desire for a 
celebration on every Sunday and Holiday : 

Part of the Office for it [the Eucharist] is read every Lord's Day in 
every Church, for an Admonition of what it were to be wished the People 
could be brought to. 3 

Though the laity could not be persuaded to approach the Holy 
Table frequently, yet the going up to the altar every Sunday and 
holiday by the priest was thought to be such a warning that the 
Eucharist should then be celebrated, that Churchmen could not give 
it up. It was a weekly indication of duty, too often disregarded. 
They were prepared to look upon the Eucharistic as one undivided 
service. They could not know of the plausible attempts made in 
our day to show that after all, the missa catechumenorum is different 
in kind from the missa fidelium, because the missa catechumenorum 
is a choir service with its lessons in the epistle and gospel, and 
psalm in the mutilated introit ; though this missa catechumenorum 
has now for so many ages been joined on to the offertory, consecra 
tion, and communion in the missa fidelium that the two are considered 
inseparable. 4 The position may be strengthened by the considera 
tion that in the Roman rite, the bishop says the missa catechumenorum 
at his throne, which is usually at one end of the choir, and he does not 
approach the altar until the offertory. It is a pity that the Puritans 
were not told that by saying the first part of the Communion 
service up to the Offertory at the desk, they were doing something 
Roman and Episcopal. They would have been puzzled to determine 
which course they should think the better to follow. 

1 Richard Hart, Parish Churches Turn'd into Conventicles . . . by reading the 
Communion Service, or any part thereof in the Desk, London, 1683, p. 19. 

2 Thomas Bisse, The beauty of holiness in the Common Prayer, sec. ed. 1721, Lon 
don, Taylor and Innys, Sermon iv. p. 124. 

3 Thomas Seeker, Eight Charges, London, 1771. Second Charge, p. 62. 

4 Fernand Cabrol, Revue du Clerge fran$ais, 1900, aout, p. 561, and septembre, p. 
5. See also my Three Chapters in Recent Liturgical Research, S.P.C.K. 1903, p. 14. 


THE period with which we are dealing does not call for any de 
scription of the Presbyterian or Independent services ; or of the 
holes and corners into which the Church of England people were 
driven when they would worship Almighty God during what used 
to be called the broken times, or, more plainly, the great Rebellion. 
But the readiness with which the people returned to the use of the 
Book of Common Prayer is some evidence that they were glad to 
escape from the dreariness of the presbyterian and independent 

Even before the King returned they had begun the old service 
again. In April 1660 Anthony Wood has this entry: 

Common Prayer was first of all read at Magdalen parish <church> 
in the beginning of this moneth after it had been omitted in Oxon to be read 
in public places since the surrender of Oxon or in 1647 ; see English 
History <p.> 1119. . . . Read soon after in severall College Chappells, 
I think Merton the first, <see> Black book, p. 7 <then added> it was not 
read in Merton College till about 20 of June. 1 

And again another entry corroborating the last note : 

June 20, or thereabouts, Common Prayer restored in College chappells. 2 

Later on there is a retrospect at the end of 1660 : 

And that they might draw the vulgar from the aforesayd praying and 
preaching which was still exercised in som churches and houses, they re 
stored the organ at Christ Church, Magdalen, New, and St. John's 
College<s>, together with the singing of prayers after the most antient 
way : to which places the resort of people (more out of novelty I suppose 
than devotion) was infinitely great. 3 

Whatever motive may be suggested the fact remains that great 

1 Bodleian Library, Tanner MS. 102, fo. 70 (ol. 136), printed in Life and Times of 
Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 1891, vol. i. p. 313. 

2 ibid. p. 319. 3 ibid. p. 357. 



numbers delighted in the old services. They began the old service 
at the cathedral church of Worcester on August 31, 1660 : 

at six in the morning the first morning prayer [was] said in the body of 
the church according to ancient custom. 

and on Sept. 2, 1660 

There was a very great assembly at morning prayer, by six in the 
morning, in the Cathedral of Worcester ; and at nine o'clock there appeared 
again at prayers all the gentry &C. 1 

The daily service was likewise restored in the Chapel Royal, as 
we find from the following order, dated Dec. 13, 1663 : 

The gentlemen being decentely habited in their gownes and surplices 
(not in cloakes and bootes and spurrs) shall come into the Chappell 
orderly together and attend God's service at the hour of ten and foure on 
the weeke dayes and at nine and foure on Sunday es and Sermon dayes. 2 

The word 'gown' here has the significance of a cassock. And 
' orderly ' would seem to direct some sort of procession, not 
haphazard, in ones or twos at a time, as is still done in some colle 
giate churches, without blame. 

The following order has no date, but it would seem to have been 
issued soon after the Restoration : 

As Our expresse pleasure is, that Our Chappell be all the Yeare kept 
both morning and evening, with solemne musick like a Collegiate Church, 
unlesse it be at such times in the Summer, or other times when Wee are 
pleased to spare it. 3 

So also daily service is restored in parish churches. Mr. Pepys 
being in Fleet Street early on July 14, 1664, says : 
hearing a psalm sung, I went into St. Dunstan's, and there heard prayers 
read, which, it seems, is done there every morning at six o'clock. 

In dealing more at length with the practice of daily service 
throughout the year it may assist the reader to consider the subject 
under three heads. The first will deal with the matter as en 
joined by authority, such as Visitation Articles, Charges, and books 
or writings by ecclesiastics of eminence. The second will treat of the 
records of the opportunities of daily prayer offered by the parochial 
clergy, as shown in the church time-tables which have come down 
to us. The third will be based upon incidental mention of attend- 

1 John Noake, Worcester Sects, Longmans, 1861, p. 94, from the Townsend MS. 

2 The Old Cheque Book, ed. Rimbault, Camden Society, 1872. New Series III. 
p. 82. 

3 A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal 
Household, printed for the Society of Antiquaries, London, 1790, p. 360. 


ance by the laity upon the daily service, to be found in writings of 
all kinds during the period under consideration. Some amount of 
overlapping may be detected here and there in the sections, for it has 
been found a hard matter to make a clean cut division between the 
three. Nevertheless an attempt at classification seemed better than 
no attempt at all. 


Preaching before King Charles the Second at Whitehall, the 
Bishop of Ely, Dr. Laney, said : 

Our Church. . . . That they might not want what all Churches ever 
had ; so ordered our Liturgie, that by it we might with safety and true de 
votion, daily Sacrifice to the praise and honor of God. 1 

The numerous visitation articles of this time show much una 
nimity in asking if the daily service be said, and without mutilation. 
For example, in 1664, the Bishop of Lincoln inquires 

VI. Doth your Parson, Vicar, or Curate, in reading the daily Morning 
and Evening Service ... use the form and words prescribed in the Book of 
Common-Prayer, without any addition, omission, or alteration of the same ? 2 

The same inquiry was made by the Dean two years later. 3 Also 
in the Diocese of Winchester in i662. 4 And in Oxford in 1672 ; 5 
Peterborough in 1 662 ; 6 St. Davids in 1662 ; 7 and a number of other 
Articles of Visitation the same inquiry is made ; but it would be 
wearisome to enumerate them. The service is confessedly of daily 
obligation ; the question only is : how is it said ? 

Jeremy Taylor in his rules, issued between 1661 and 1667, to 
the Clergy of the Dioceses of Down and Connor, speaks thus of the 
daily service : 

77. Every minister is obliged, publicly or privately, to read the common 
prayers every day in the week, at morning and evening ; and in great towns 
and populous places conveniently inhabited, it must be read in churches, 
that the daily sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving may never cease. 8 

1 B. Laney, Two Sermons of Prayer to God, London, T. Garthwaite, 1668, p. 7. 

3 Articles of Visitation . . . Benjamin, Lord Bishop of Lincoln, London, Garthwaite, 
1664, p. 4. 

s ibid. Michael Honywood, Dean of Lincoln, London, Seile, 1666, p. 4. 

4 ibid. George, Bp. of Winchester, London, Garthwaite, 1662, p. 4. 

5 ibid. Nathanael, Lord Bishop of Oxford, London, Hooke, 1672, p. 4. 

6 ibid. Benjamin, Lord Bishop of Peterborough, London, A. Seile, 1662, p. 5. 
^ibid. William, Bishop of St. David, London, Garthwaite, 1162, p. 4. 

8 Jeremy Taylor, Rules and Advices to the Clergy of the Diocess of Down and 
Connor, vii. in Whole Works, ed. by Reginald Heber, London, Ogle, 1822, vol. xiv. p. 505. 


In 1669 the Archdeacon of Durham at his Easter Visitation 
gave the following directions to the Curates of his two livings of 
Sedgefield and Easington : 

That the Mattens and Evensong shall be (according to the rubrick) 
said dayly, in the chancells of each his parrish churches, throughout the 
year, without the le[a]st variation. 

That the houres for dayly prayer on working dayes shall be six in the 
morning, and six in the evening, as the most convenient for labourers and 
men of busyness. 1 

At Manchester, the Warden and Fellows, in a statute dated 
May 6, 1671, ordain that the singing men and boys " who shall per 
form the prayers and other daily divine services in the Church of 
the aforesaid College " 2 are to submit to the rules of the College. 

Dr. Edward Lake in his Officium Eucharisticum, first published, 
it would seem, in 1673, follows Cosin's Collection of Private De 
votion in inculcating the observance of the five Precepts of the 
Church, in the fourth of which is urged the importance for the lay 
man of attendance on daily Mattins and Evensong in the Church. 

Next to the Holy Commandments and Injunctions of the Gospel, be 
diligent to observe the Precepts of the Church, viz. 

* # # 

4. To repair every day Morning and Evening (unless there be a just and 
unfeigned cause to the contrary) unto some Church or Chappel for Publick 
Prayers, unto which God hath in a more peculiar manner annexed his 
Blessing, that where two or three are gathered together in his Name he 
will be in the midst of them. 3 

At a visitation held in 1674 by the Archdeacon of Durham it 
is asked : 

Besides the ordinary offices for Sundayes and Feastivalls, and dayly 
prayers throughout the yeare, hath there been . . . 4 

The daily services are supposed, and obligatory. A little later 
on, in the Injunctions preparatory to the Bishop's Visitation, there 
is this order : 

4. That the Rubrick enjoyning Dayly Prayer (soe much insisted on by 
the late Bishopp and both Archdeacons) be observed by all Preists and 

1 Miscellanea, Surtees Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 129. 

2 [S. Hibbert,] History of the Foundations of Manchester, London, Pickering, 1834, 
vol. ii. p. 7. 

3 Edw. Lake, Officium Eucharisticum, p. no before evening prayers. 

4 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. n. 


Deacons (as enjoyned) either publickly or privately, not being lett by sick 
ness or some urgent cause of like importance. 1 

In 1680 when Bishop Patrick was at St. Paul's Covent Garden, 
he made arrangements for no less than four services daily. They 
already had Mattins and Evensong daily, for 

Some pious persons indeed had desired prayers at the hour of ten in 
the morning, and three in the afternoon, which they maintained by a 
voluntary contribution. These [extra services] therefore were ordered to 
be at six o'clock in the morning, and seven at night in summer time, (before 
trading began, and when it was done,) that servants might resort unto them. 
Which they did very much, and I hope will continue to do. The other 
prayers also still continue at ten and three, to which the gentry and better 
sort of people, who maintain them are wont to come. 2 

Servants are not of necessity here domestic servants, but what 
the French call employes. 

In a Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Northumberland held in 
April 1684 the third requirement is : 

III. That the rubricke injoyneing Dayly Prayer be observed duely by 
all Priests and Deacons, either publiquely or at least privately, not being 
lett by sickness or other reasonable cause. 3 

Dr. Fell, when Bishop of Oxford, spoke thus at a visitation in 
1685 f those clergy who are constantly excusing themselves from 
their duties : 

If I require a constant diligence in offering the daily sacrifice of 
Prayer for the people, at least at those returns which the Church enjoins, 
the usual answer is, they are ready to do their duty, but the people will not 
be prevailed with to join with them. 4 

In 1686, Dr. Francis Turner, then Bishop of Ely, tells his 
Clergy that 

there is one thing more which I do exceedingly long to see introduc't, 
and would fain obtain ; that which the Kubrick in the true Intent of it 
still exacts of you, to have Morning and Evening Prayer every day of the 
week in your Church? 

1 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 17. 

2 The autobiography of Symon Patrick, Bishop of Ely, Oxford, I. H. Parker, 1839, 
p. go. 

3 Miscellanea, Surtees Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 282. 

4 Reprinted in the Student, or the Oxford Monthly Miscellany, No. i, January i, 
1750, p. 8. Dr. Seeker, when Bishop of Oxford, refers to this : " Were I to repeat to 
you the strong expressions which my great Predecessor Bishop Fell used, in requiring 
this Part of ecclesiastical Duty, they would surprise you". (Eight Charges, Lond. 
1771. Second charge, p. 76.) 

5 Francis Turner, A Letter to the Clergy of the Dioecess of Ely, Cambridge, Hayes, 

1686, p. 12. 



Dr. Symon Patrick, afterwards Bishop of Ely, opens a chapter 
in his book on prayer, published first in 1686, with these words : 

Chap. XIX. Of Daily Publick Assemblies and of Hours, and Gestures 
of Prayer. 

It may be thought, perhaps, by some, that I go too far, in pressing 
a daily attendance upon the Public Prayers. 1 

It has been seen above 2 that, at St. Paul's Covent Garden, 
during his incumbency, he provided four daily services. 

Thomas Comber, who afterwards became Dean of Durham, 
published in 1687 A Discourse concerning the daily Frequenting the 
Common Prayer^ in which he exhorts the faithful to a daily atten 
dance at church. 

A Doctor of Medicine, John Mapletoft, published in 1687 A 
persuasive to the Conscientious frequenting the daily Publick Prayers 
of the Church of England. It was issued at London, by Kittilby. 

It may be inferred from Ken's sermon on the death of Lady 
Maynard that he had established daily morning and evening prayer 
in his first cure of Little Easton. As Bishop of Bath and Wells in 
1688 he exhorts his clergy to daily service: 

But your greatest Zeal must be spent for the Publick Prayers, in the 
constant and devout use of which, the Publick Safety, both of Church and 
State, is highly concern'd : be sure then to offer up to God every day the 
Morning and Evening Prayer ; offer it up in your Family at least, or rather 
as far as your circumstances may possibly permit, offer it up in the Church, 
especially if you live in a great Town, and say over the Litany every morn 
ing during the whole Lent. 3 

As soon as King James' prosecution of the Seven Bishops had 
failed, the Archbishop of Canterbury put out a document addressed 
to his suffragans; one article of which is an exhortation to the 
performance of the daily service. 

V. That they perform the Daily Office publickly (with all Decency, 
Affection, and Gravity) in all Market and other Great Towns, and even in 
Villages, and less populous Places, bring people to Publick Prayers as 
frequently as may be ; especially on such Days, and at such Times, as the 
Rubric and Canons [direct] appointed on Holy-days, and their Eves, on 

1 Symon Patrick, A discourse concerning Prayer, London, Chapman, 1705, p. 201. 

2 See above, p. 81. 

3 Thomas Ken, A Pastoral Letter . . . to his clergy concerning their behaviour 
during Lent, published by Charles Brome, 1688, p. 2, reprinted in The Prose Works 
of Thomas Ken, ed. by J. T. Round, London, Rivington, 1838, p. 476. For the daily 
service at Little Easton, see p. 131. 


Ember and Rogation Days^ on Wednesdays and Fridays in each Week, and 
especially in Advent and Lent. 1 

This is among "Some Heads of Things to be more fully 
insisted upon by the Bishops in their Addresses to the Clergy and 
People of their respective Diocesses," and is dated July 27, 1688. 

In Ireland also there were daily services. In 1691, a Bishop of 
Cork, urging the practice of family prayer, adds : 

Besides this, seeing there are daily publick prayers in two Churches of 
the Town at least, what would it be for every sufficient Housekeeper, if 
not to come often themselves, yet to send daily at least, one or two of the 
Family, to pray there for all the rest ? 2 

In 1695, Dr. Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, urging upon 
his Clergy the " devout and decent Reading [of] the Holy Offices 
of the Church " and " a good, distinct, forcible, yet easy, and un 
forced Reading of every Prayer and Portion of the Holy Scriptures," 
adds that, if this be done, " It is indeed almost incredible, how 
quite another Thing the daily Morning and Evening Prayers will 
appear". 3 

The daily morning and evening prayers are taken for granted : 
only they are to be decently performed. 

In the year of his death, 1708, Dr. Beveridge's executor pub 
lished a treatise by the bishop on the Great Necessity and Advantage 
of Publick Prayer and Frequent Communion. In it he shows "the 
many great Advantages which arise from the Daily frequenting the 
Publick Prayers of the Church". The little book went through at 
least nine editions in the eighteenth century, besides being trans 
lated into Welsh. 

In an official letter, Dr. Wake, when Bishop of Lincoln in 1711, 
urges daily service, even in country parishes : 

The Examples of several Excellent Parsons, who have done this with 
good Success, and brought their People to frequent the daily Prayers of 
the Church, shew what others might do ... 

But whatever may be pretended against such a constant Usage of the 
Daily Service in the Church, certain it is, that no Allowance is made for the 

1 The Archbishop of Canterbury's Instructions to the Clergy of the Church of 
England, London, H. Jones, 1689. See also Walter Scott, A Collection of Scarce and 
Valuable Tracts, sec. ed. London, 1813, vol. ix. p. 133. These are often called the 
Somers tracts. 

2 Pastoral Admonitions Directed by the Bishop of Cork to all under his charge, 
Cork, Brent and Jones, 1691, p. ix. 

8 Thomas Sprat, A Discourse made by the Lord Bishop of Rochester to the Clergy 
of his Diocese. . . . 1695. In the Savoy, Nutt, 1710, pp. n, 13. 

6 * 


Omission of it upon Litany-Days^ Holy Days, Sundays, and their Eves ; and 
it must therefore be your Duty to see that the Clergy within your Arch- 
Deaconry do accordingly read it there, at least upon those Days. 1 

In the same way Dr. Potter, Bishop of Oxford, who like Dr. 
Wake afterwards became Archbishop of Canterbury, speaks of the 
daily service as a duty required of every clergyman. These are his 
words : 

In reading the daily Prayers of the Church, if any of us, instead of pro 
nouncing them in the manner which the Nature of this Duty requires, that 
is, gravely, seriously and reverently, should make it his constant practice to 
hurry them over without any Concern or Attention, and like a Task of 
which he desires to rid himself as soon as possible ; this, instead of ex 
citing Devotion in those that hear him, would rather incline them to 
Remissness and Coldness, to Irreligion and Atheism. . . . 

My Brethren of the Clergy . . . are farther requir'd by one of the 
Kubricks prefix'd before our excellent Liturgy, to say daily the Morning 
and Evening Prayer either Privately or Openly? 

It would be well if the advice of Dr. Potter could be remembered 
in these days. Nothing discourages the attendance of the laity more 
than the irreverent and grossly indecent manner in which the daily 
divine service is now too often celebrated. 

St. George's Chapel in Great Yarmouth was consecrated in 1715; 
the Sunday after the preacher told the congregation that 

Principally for your good daily Morning and Evening Prayers, are for 
ever to be perform'd both here, as well as in the Mother Church? 

For a parish priest William Law in 1726 sets the duty of daily 
prayer on the level of the duty of visiting his parish. 

Eusebius would read Prayers twice every Day in his Parish, he would 
be often with the Poor and Sick, and spend much Time in charitable 
Visits ; he would be wholly taken up in the Cure of Souls, but that he is 
busy in studying the old Grammarians, and would fain reconcile some Dif 
ferences amongst them, before he dies. 4 

There is a sermon advertised, but which 1 have not been able to 
see in any library, with the following title : 

1 W. Wake, Letter to the Clergy of Lincoln, covering a letter from the Archbishop 
of Canterbury and Queen Anne, August, 1711, p. 4. 

2 John Potter, Bishop of Oxford, Charge, July, 1716. London, Mortlock, 1716, pp. 
15 and 18. 

3 William Lyng, A Discourse of the Usefulness, Antiquity, and Dedications of 
Churches, Cambridge University Press, 1716, p. 22. 

4 William Law, A practical Treatise upon Christian Perfection, ch. ix. ed. by J. J. 
Trebeck, London, Spottiswoode, 1902, p. 226. 


To join in Prayers, and to receive the Sacrament, in an established, 
consecrated Place, Morning and Evening every Day, Christian Duties : a 
Sermon at Market Dray ton, in Shropshire, Jan. 27, pr. 6d. 1 

I cannot think that we have here a recommendation of daily 
communion, but only a recommendation of attendance on Morning 
and Evening Prayers. 

Dr. Henry Stebbing, who had the honour to be attacked by 
Conyers Middleton, mentions the daily Service of Morning and 
Evening prayer, in his Sermon on St. Mark's day, 1732, on the 
Excellency of the Constitution of the Church of England consider 'a 7 , as 
to the Frequency of its Worship. 

Dr. Best in 1746 says it is accounted disreputable at Bath and 
Tun bridge Wells not to attend the daily service : " a scandalous and 
an offensive singularity". 2 

Dr. Hildesley, Bishop of Sodor and Man, left in his will a sum 
of money for printing the Daily Service of the Common Prayer. 3 
He likewise continued the daily prayers in Sher burn's Hospital, as 
they were under Dr. Chandler, Bishop of Durham. 4 

A broadsheet in the British Museum which the catalogue as 
signs to the year 1760 urges attendance upon the daily service as a 
means of promoting religion. 

VII. Frequent publick Worship every Day in the Week, if your Busi 
ness permit, and if you live in a Place where it is performed. 5 

The author of these Hints, reprinted in a third edition in 1771, 
was the Reverend Thomas Richards. He was curate of St. Sepul 
chre's, where the daily service was kept up from 1692 to 1746 at 
least, and it was still going on in 1824. The following account of 
his good works appeared at the time of his death. 

Aged 82, the Rev. Thomas Richards, more than 30 years the indefati 
gable and worthy curate of St. Sepulchre's London ; a man of Christian 
principles, of approved integrity, of unwearied patience. He seemed uni 
versally to be animated with zeal for his Divine Master, and to live with 

1 Advertised in the Gentleman's Magazine, for 1731, vol. i. p. 272, amongst the 
books published in June. 

2 William Best, Essay upon the Service of the Church of England, considered as a 
daily service, London, Oliver and Dod, 1746, p. 46. See also below, p. 100. 

3 Weeden Butler, Memoires of Mark Hildesley, London, Nichols, 1799, p. 62. 

4 ibid. p. 155 and [Geo. Allan,] Collections Relating Sherburn Hospital, 1773, 
23, p. 227. See also Robert Surtees, History . . . of Durham, London, 1816, vol. i. 
P- 137- 

5 Hints concerning the Means of promoting Religion in Ourselves or Others, 
British Museum shelf mark : 816, m. 22. (56.) 


no common share of heavenly- mindedness. Few clergymen pass this life 
in so retired and humble a situation ; but, while he preserved the even 
tenor of his way, in the laborious path of his duty, he never murmured at 
his comparative low estate, or envied the superior fortunes of others. Con 
tented with a little, he really dealt out his bread to the hungry, and scarcely 
ever eat a meal but the sick and the needy partook with him. 1 

The need of frequent attendance on the divine service was put 
before his clergy by Dr. Butler on his translation to Durham in 
1751. Divine service was to be celebrated as often as a congrega 
tion could be got to attend it. 

But if these appendages of the divine service are to be regarded, 
doubtless the divine service itself is more to be regarded ; and the con 
scientious attendance upon it ought often to be inculcated upon the people, 
as a plain precept of the gospel, as the means of grace, and what has 
peculiar promises annexed to it. ... For this reason besides others, the 
service of the church ought to be celebrated as often as you can have a 
congregation to attend it. 

But since the body of the people, especially in country places, cannot 
be brought to attend it oftener than one day in a week ; and since this is 
in no sort enough to keep up in them a due sense of religion ; it were greatly 
to be wished they could be persuaded to any thing which might in some 
measure, supply the want of more frequent public devotions, or serve the 
like purposes. Family prayers, regularly kept up in every house, would 
have a great and good effect. 2 

Though the eighteenth century be now far advanced, yet in a 
charge published in the year before his death, Dr. George Home, 
Bishop of Norwich, urged upon the clergy the duty of daily service 
as required by the canons. He complains that daily service had 
much fallen off. 

To assist us in the great duties of prayer and meditation, books of 
devotion have their use ; but to us of the clergy, the Liturgy of our Church 
is the best companion, and the daily use of it in our churches, or families, 
is required by the Canons. It cannot be denied, that from various reasons 
prevailing amongst us, we are much fallen off, of late years, from the 
practice of weekly [?week day] prayers in our churches. Wherever 
this hath been neglected, we should exhort the people to the revival of it, 
if circumstances will possibly permit ; and alarm them against a mistake, 
to which they are all exposed, from a fanatical prejudice of baneful influence, 
namely, that they come to church only to hear preaching ; and hence they 
are indifferent, even on a Sunday, to the prayers of the church, unless 
there is a sermon. But if sermons have not already taught them, that they 

1 Gentleman's Magazine, for 1798, vol. Ixviii. part i. p. 262. 

2 Joseph Butler, A charge delivered to the Clergy . . . of Durham, 1751, in Works, 
ed. by W. E. Gladstone, Oxford, 1896, vol. ii. p. 409. 


are to be saved by the life and fire of devotion in their own hearts, little is 
to be expected from all the sermons they will hear in time to come. 
Devotion is a flame,' which, like other flame, is given to spread. If a 
clergyman appears to be zealous in the duty of public prayer, the people 
will be thereby excited to attend him. But if he appears to be indifferent, 
they will continue to be so ; and though their indevotion will be no excuse 
for his, his will always be assumed as an excuse for theirs. 1 

Also at the beginning of the nineteenth century when it might 
have been thought that Church tone was at its lowest, a bishop, 
Sir George Pretyman Tomline, speaks of the daily service : " Our 
Church, in the beginning of its daily service". 2 And a writer in 
the Quarterly Review, noticing the book, points out " a very re 
markable want of allusion, in the daily services, to the corruption 
of man by the fall of Adam". 3 The expression implies that the 
service is to be daily and it is acknowledged as such ; but an ad 
mission of the possibility of daily service as a duty would hardly 
have been allowed in certain quarters after 1833. It would have 
smacked of Tractarianism. 

In 1815, a somewhat Low Church periodical, the Christian 
Guardian, speaks of the daily service as if it were an acknowledged 
practice. Discussing morning and evening services, the writer says 

let us now proceed to consider the manner in which this daily sacrifice 
of praise and thanksgiving is directed to be offered in the Church of 
England. 4 

In 1820 there appeared a learned work in two volumes, by the 
Reverend Thomas Pruen, with the title : An Illustration of the 
Liturgy of the Church of England as to its daily service. It was 
published by subscription in London. 

Thus we approach the end of our period. 


By far the best information that we have under this heading is 
given us by the time tables for the churches in the cities of London 
and Westminster that were published, not infrequently, between 
the years 1683 and 1753. The last that I have seen in our period 

1 George [Home], A charge intended to have been delivered to the clergy of Nor 
wich, Norwich, Yarington and Bacon, 1791, p. 38. 

2 George Pretyman Tomline, A Refutation of Calvinism, London, 1811, ch. iii. 
P- 145- 

3 Quarterly Review, 1811, October, p. 197. 

4 The Christian Guardian, London, Gosnell, 1815, vol. vii. p. 15. 


was published in 1824, but the numbers have then fallen very low. 
For the churches in the country we have far less information : for 
them I have not come across anything like the timetables of services 
that we have for seventy years in the capital. 

In the country, the records are very scanty, especially of small 
parishes. There is one, Bedell, where there was daily prayer in 
1 68 1. 1 In Ken's first parish, Little Easton in Essex, it has been 
already said that he established daily morning and evening prayer. 2 

In the city of London in 1682 there were two churches at least 
with daily service, St. Mary Woolnoth and St. Christopher. 3 The 
note that gives us this information is, it may be presumed, not ex 
haustive; for in the following year the second edition of the 
pamphlet in which the note is contained shows a table of some 
twenty churches and chapels with daily service. Even this is not 
complete, for it does not give the daily service at St. Dunstan's 
Fleet Street attended by Mr. Pepys in i664 4 and still going on 
1692, and in the days of Clarissa Harlowe. 

In this second edition St. Paul's is not mentioned, as it was re 
building : but there were three services every day at the King's 
Chapel, the Duke's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, and Ely House 
at 6, 10, and 4. Also at the Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's 
Inn at 8 and 4 ; and at the Charterhouse at 1 1 and 4. But these 
are all more or less foundations. The number of Parish Churches 
with service twice a day is but seven ; and five have service once a 
day only. 

The services in 1683 were at various times: From 6 to 1 1 in 
the morning and from 3 to 6 in the afternoon. In 1688, in a small 
quarto tract, there is a greater choice of times given for services, 
especially at night, thus : 

I hope there are but few, but will find time at VI. VII. or VIII. in the 
Morning before business breaks in upon them, or at IX. X. or at XI. when 
business is over ; And for the Afternoon, either at III. IV. V. VI. VII. 
VIII. or IX. a Clock. 5 

1 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Soc. 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 80. 

2 See above, p. 82. 

3 [T. Seymour,] Advice to the Readers of the Common Prayer and to the people . . . 
by a well-meaning (though unlearned) Layick of the Church of England, London, 
Randal Taylor, 1682, on verso of Preface. 

4 See above, p. 78. 

5 A letter of Advice to all the Members of the Church of England to come to the 
Divine Service Morning and Evening every day, London, S. Keble, 1688, p. 5. 


Much the same desire to suit all classes is shown by a writer in 
1708 who attempts to vindicate London from the charge of being a 
lewd and vicious place : rather he would claim that it is a Religious 

well-governed City : 

few of the 100 Churches contained in this City, as aforesaid (unless where 
they stand very thick, as in the Heart of the City) but where there is Divine 
Service once, twice, or more in a Day, and these at different Hours, some 
in the Hours of Business, which seem to be intended for Masters, and 
those that have Estates ; and others in the Evening when Shops are shut, 
or very early in the Morning, most proper for Servants of all sorts, and 
labouring Persons. 1 

To return to the number of churches with daily prayer : in 1687 
there are more than in 1683 : there are now ten Cathedral or 
Collegiate Churches, Chapels royal, and other foundations as we may 
call them, with daily service, and 28 parish churches and chapels 
with daily service, most of them twice daily. 2 It may be suspected 
that this increase is due to a more complete enumeration. 

In 1692 there are at least forty-seven places where the daily 
service is celebrated. 3 

In 1 708 there can be counted up thirty-six churches and chapels, 
not including Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, or the chapels royal, 
where there are daily services. 4 

A bookseller's catalogue announces an edition of Rules for our 
more devout Behaviour, etc., published in 1709, and the writer tells 
us that he counts up sixty London churches in which there is daily 
service. I have not myself seen this edition. 

In 1714 there were in London and Westminster 72 churches 
and chapels with daily service, 5 while in 1728 there are but 57 parish 
churches and chapels in London and Westminster with daily 
service, 6 and four years later, in 1732, there can only be found 44 
churches with daily service. Seeing that in 1728 and again in 
1746 we have much the same figures, 57 in the one, and 58 in the 
other, it is possible that in 1732 a full tale of the churches was not 

1 A new mew of London, London, 1708, vol. i. Introduction, p. xxxvii. 

2 Rules for our more devout behaviour, etc., London, S. Keble, second edition, 

3 Single sheet folio in the British Museum, the shelf mark is : 491. k. 4 (n). 

4 A new view of London, in two volumes, London, 1708. 

5 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Downing and Taylor, 1714. 

6 Rules for our more devout behaviour, etc., London, Joseph Hazard, fourteenth 
edition, 1728. 


given in, 1 and the hypothesis of violent fluctuation need not be re 
sorted to without further evidence. 

^In 1746 there were in the Bills of Mortality 58 churches and 
chapels with daily service. This must be looked upon as a decided 
falling off in the numbers as compared with those of 1714 ; for new 
churches had been built and, though in them daily service was begun 
and kept up, yet the services in the older establishments must have 
been decreasing. A large number, however, still keep the festivals, 
and every week the station days, that is, Wednesday and Friday. 2 
They have often evening as well as morning prayer on the 
Wednesday and Friday, and evening prayer on Saturday, the eve 
of Sunday. 

At Bloomsbury Chapel, they had in 1722, prayers, morning and 
evening, every day at n and 4. 3 

At Duke Street Chapel by Story's Gate they had morning and 
evening prayer also daily, at 1 1 and 4.* 

The following passage occurs in editions of Stow's Survey : 

Constant Publick Prayers^ and Lectures every Day. [in m.] I might 
subjoin here the great Advantages those that live in the City have for their 
publick Devotions. For there be set up in the Churches the Use of Publick 
Prayers said, not only every Day, but almost every Hour of the Day, at one 
Church or other. That so, if a Man's occasions do obstruct his going to 
Church, to pay Almighty God his Devotions at one Hour, he may at his 
greater Leisure, do it at another. 5 

In 1824 the daily services had fallen almost as low as they 
could without being extinct. Only nine parish churches in London 
and Westminster had preserved them. But cut short as they were 
they had not entirely disappeared. Yet judging from the extra 
ordinary outcry made when the early Tractarians attempted to re 
vive the practice of daily prayer, it might be thought that such 
devotions were unknown in the Church of England. There are 

1 New Remarks of London, collected by the Company of Parish Clerks, London, 
Midwinter, 1732. The Clerk of St. Margaret's Westminster denied all knowledge of 
the paragraphs assigned to him in this collection. (J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Re- 
divivum, London, 1807, vol. iv. p. 121.) 

2 William Best, An Essay upon the Service of the Church of England considered as 
a daily service, London, 1746. See Appendix. 

3 Supplement to the Review of London, London, Roberts, 1722, p. 33. 

4 ibid. p. 34. 

5 John Stow, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, ed. John Strype, 
London, 1720, Vol. II. book v. p. 33, also sixth edition, London, Innys, etc., 1755, Vol. 
II. book v. ch. iii. p. 148, where the same statements are repeated ; whether after fresh 
verification or merely by copying I do not know. 


doubtless many who would be ready to believe that all trace of 
daily service had disappeared. But the time table of the year 1824 
shows that it is not so. At St. James' Piccadilly and St. Martin's 
in the Fields there were three services every week day at 7, Uj 6, 
continued from the eighteenth century ; at St. Martin's the first 
service in the winter months was at 8. This latter point gives a 
touch of reality to the statement. At St. George's Hanover 
Square, St. James' Clerkenwell, St. Giles' in the Fields, and St. 
Dunstan's Stepney there were prayers daily at 1 1 . 

At St. Andrew's Holborn there were every week day prayers at a 
quarter past 1 1 and a quarter past 3. At St. Sepulchre's prayers 
every morning at 7 o'clock and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon ; while 
on Wednesdays, Fridays and holidays there were also prayers at 1 1. 

In a good number of churches where the service was not daily 
there were prayers on Wednesdays, Fridays, and holidays, in the 
morning, only. These were some twenty-two in number. I have 
assumed that whenever there is no special mention of week day ser 
vices in 1824 no such services existed, and this I fear was the case in 
the majority of churches. 

One curious endowment existed at St. Anthony or St. Antholin 
Watling Street, where there were six lectures preached, one for every 
evening at seven o'clock but Saturday ; with the exception of one week 
in the year when divine service was performed at seven in the morning. 
At this church the worshipful company of Skinners attended divine 
service on Corpus Christi day. This word may be noted, for the 
day does not appear in the Calendar of the Church of England ; 
and another unusual entry in the same year of a sermon on All 
Souls' day is at St. Margaret's Westminster. 

The endowment at St. Mary le Bow for a celebration of the 
Lord's supper every Saint's day made in 1755 and spoken of above 
seems to have been diverted in 1824 to the mere reading of Prayers 
" at 8 o'clock in the morning on Saints' days ". 

Thus much for the services of 1824. 

We have records of three daily services at St. Clement Danes 
in 1746, and some of these may have been continued in 1779 : for 
on a Sunday evening, October loth, Dr. Johnson intended to go to 
evening prayers ; but owing to a little gout in his toe, he said " I 
shan't go to prayers to-night ; I shall go to-morrow ; whenever I 
miss church on a Sunday, I resolve to go another day. But I do 
not always do it," 


If the London churches had all been shut from Sunday to Sun 
day, Dr. Johnson would not have said this. 

Sometimes, as in Dr. Johnson's case spoken of above, we have 
incidental notice of the existence of daily service. For example, 
on June 14, 1729 it is announced in the papers that St. Swithun's 
church was robbed on Monday night, the thieves having hid them 
selves after prayers. 1 St. Swithun's London Stone is among the 
churches given in the time tables as having daily evening service ; 
the newspaper paragraph confirms what is given in the time tables. 

Even when exiled to the tropics the chaplains of the East India 
Company tried to keep up the rule they had learnt at home. In 
1718 they had prayers twice daily, at 8 and 4. 2 

At Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1769 there were at All Saints 
" prayers every day, at ten o'clock in the morning, and four in the 
afternoon". 3 At St. Nicholas there were also "prayers twice a 
day". 4 

At Southampton we are told that 

It was the practice of the town clergy to keep up a daily service at 
Holy Rood, and in September, 1661,* they were begged to revive that 
ancient and laudable custom ; a practice broken through probably before 
1752, since Taunton's bequest that year for the same purpose was confined 
to the Vicar of Holy Rood, or on his failing in the duty the bequest was 
to go to St. Lawrence, and on failure there to return to Holy Rood, and so 
from one to the other for ever. In 1781 Holy Rood is described as the 
fashionable church of the town, with service twice a day.** 5 

* Town Journ. (Corp. MSS.). ** Ford, Guide (1781). 

I do not quite follow the reasoning that the practice had been 
broken through because the endowment was to leave the church if 
the daily service were discontinued. It rather suggests the desire 
for the keeping up of a practice by this threat of loss if discontinued. 
It may be gathered from the last paragraph of the extract printed 
below 6 that the daily service at Holy Rood was continued down to 

By the help of the Bath Guides which we have from 1753 to 

1 British Journal or the Censor, Saturday, June 14, 1729. 

2 Henry Barry Hyde, Parochial Annals of Bengal, Calcutta, 1901, p. 76. 

3 John Wallis, Natural History . . . of Northumberland, London, Strahan, 1769, 
vol. ii. p. 230. 

4 ibid. p. 224. 

5 Victoria History of the Counties of England : Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 
London, Constable, 1908, vol. iii. p. 527. 

6 See extract below, p, 94, from Christian Remembrancer, 1849, vol. xvii. p. 337. 


beyond our period, it is possible to follow the custom of daily ser 
vice at Bath for some eighty years. In 1753 it is said that at the 
Abbey Church there were prayers every day, at eleven in the fore 
noon ahid at four in the afternoon. Also at St. Mary's Chapel in 
Queen's Square divine service was twice every day, at eleven and 
four. At St. James' they only had prayers on Wednesdays and 
Fridays, at eleven and four. 1 

These services continue much the same, except those at St. 
James' which was rebuilding, until 1768, when it is added that at 
St. John's Hospital they have service twice a day together with 
those at the Abbey and St. Mary's. 2 These go on till 1784, when 
the evening service in the Abbey would seem to have been given 
up. In 1786 the daily service at St. Mary's has fallen to one only 
at eleven in the morning, but in 1788 the Abbey Church has again 
services at 1 1 and 4 : St. Mary's only once at 1 1 , but at St. John's 

After St. James' Church was rebuilt they had service on Wed 
nesdays and Fridays, in the morning, not in the afternoon ; on 
Saturdays in the afternoon. 

In 1791, at the Abbey Church they have service twice a day, at 
II and 4: so in 1801, 1811, and 1813. St. Mary's continues with 
one service only in the forenoon, up to 1823. At the Abbey 
Church in 1834, there are prayers daily at eleven. 

At Manchester, besides the daily services of the collegiate or Old 
Church, now the cathedral church, they had before 1834 service 
twice daily at St. Anne's Church, consecrated in 1712 : 

prayers are read on all other days, [besides Sunday] throughout the year, 
viz. at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and at six in the evening. To sup 
port this extra duty, two curates have generally been attached to the church. 3 

It would thus seem that even at the end of our period the daily 
service was never quite extinct in parish churches. The paragraph 
which follows gives some further instances of its maintenance, and 
there can be little doubt that the list now in our hands is not ex 

In the eighteenth, [century, daily prayer] it gradually died out of our 
towns, though in some instances, as at Boston and Grantham in Lincoln - 

1 Bath and Bristol Guide, Bath, Thomas Boddeley, 1753, p. 4. 

2 New Bath Guide, C. Pope, about 1768, 5th ed. The later dates are those of the 
Bath Guide of the year given. 

3 [S. Hibbert,] History of the Foundations of Manchester, London, Pickering, 1834, 
vol. ii. p. 51, note. 


shire, it lingered on till the commencement of the present [nineteenth] cen 
tury. In the latter town it has never been given up. Dr. Wells endowed 
his church at Cotesbach with a sum for the perpetual recitation of daily 
morning prayers. The piety of a townsman did the same thing for Holy- 
rood at Southampton, even in that dark age. In both cases the practice is 
maintained. 1 


Here we have to rely upon the incidental mention of attendance 
at daily prayer in the miscellaneous writings of the time. From 
the nature of things it cannot be looked for that such should be 
found very often ; yet in the first half of the eighteenth century, it 
must be owned that the number of times in which one may find 
daily prayer spoken of as attended by the people, much exceeds what 
one may have thought beforehand it would be. 

At Southampton there is evidence that the civic authorities, as 
already mentioned, called upon the town clergy to resume the daily 
service the year after the return of the King ; that is in September 
1 66 1. The practice continued at least as late as 1 78 1, 2 and even down 
to I849. 8 

When Mrs. Godolphin is in Paris in 1675 she attends public 
prayers twice a day, it must be supposed in the Embassy chapel. 4 
At the English Court " Were it never soe dark, wett or uncomfortable 
weather, dureing the severity of winter, she would rarely omit being 
at the Chappell att 7 a'clock prayers". 5 

It is recorded of Dr. Thomas Willis, a distinguished physician, 
who began to practice in London in 1666, and who died in 1675, 

As he rose early in the morning, that he might be present at divine 
service, which he constantly frequented before he visited his patients, he 
procured prayers to be read out of the accustomed times while he lived, 
and at his death settled a stipend of 2o/. per annum to continue them. 6 

1 Christian Remembrancer ', 1849, vol. xvii. p. 337. Article on Daily prayers, which 
I am inclined to attribute to the pen of Dr. Neale. There is on p. 344 a letter from 
Wake describing four services a day at Lambeth. 

2 Victoria History of the Counties of England : Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 
London, Constable, 1908, vol. iii. p. 527. The reference given for the resumption after 
the Restoration is : Town Journ. (Corp. MSS). See above, p. 92. 

3 See immediately above. 

4 The life of Mrs. Godolphin, by John Evelyn, London, 1888, p. 123. 

5 ibid. p. 166. 

6 Alex. Chalmers, General Biographical Dictionary, London, 1817, vol. xxxii. p. 
140 under Thomas Willis. 


This benefaction is spoken of in 1714 and prayers were then 
continued at 6 in the morning, 1 and they are also spoken of as in 
existence in 1824.2 

Amongst the Rawlinson papers of the Bodleian Library is a 
long letter from a student in the Inns of Court unable to find a 
rubrical service either on Sundays or week days, and he complains 
that the service ordered to be daily in every church is not fully or 
perfectly read. 3 This gives some evidence of a desire among the 
laity to attend the daily service, which should be read without 
mutilation or alteration. 

In 1704 the gentlemen of Clifford's Inn are commended for 
their constant attendance on the prayers of the Church at St. Dun- 
stan's in the West. 4 

Ken when he was parson at Little Easton in Essex seems to 
have begun or continued the daily service as pointed out above : 
for in his funeral sermon of Lady Maynard he says of her : 

Besides her own private prayers, she morning and evening offered up 
to God the public offices, and when she was not able to go to the house 
of prayer, she had it read to her in her chamber. 5 

It seems to follow from this that Ken had daily morning and 
evening prayer in the parish church of Little Easton. 

A writer, complaining of a superfluity of sermons in England, 
remarks of the frequent services 

especially in great Cities, where the Bells never lie still all the Week long, 
from Six a'clock in the morning, till Five at night 

so as to give the parson no time for preparation of sermons, which 
become mere " prating ". 6 

Sir George Wheler, a Prebendary of Durham, speaking of the way 
in which a Christian Nobleman's household should order its affairs, 
says that such should have daily offices. 

1 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Downing and Taylor, 1714, p. 152. 
z London Parishes, London, Weed and Jeffery, 1824, p. 151. 

3 See below, Appendix to this Chapter. 

4 A letter of advice to all the members of the Church of England to come to the 
Divine Service every day, London, Keble, 1704, reprinted by Joseph Masters, 1852, 
P. 5- 

5 Thomas Ken, Sermon preached at the funeral of the Right Hon. The Lady 
Margaret Mainard, at Little Easton, in Essex, June 30, 1682, in The Prose Works of 
Thomas Ken, ed. by J. T. Round, London, Rivington, 1838, p. 131. 

6 Speculum Crape-Gownorum, Lond[o]n, 1682, p. 16. Crape was the name of the 
stuff of which the gown of the clergyman was often made. 


Persons of this first Magnitude usually do, and all should, like Mtcah, 
keep a Divine to be a Spiritual Father and Priest to his Family : who, as 
he is oblig'd to say daily Morning and Evening Prayers Privately or Pub- 
lickly, according to the Rule of his Common- Prayer Book; So should 
there be a decent Chappel in the House, set apart to perform this Office 
in : ... If this were fixt to, or near Six in the Morning, at Mid-day, 
[daily Communion service] and after Six at Night, it would effect this most 
conveniently. 1 

Of a lady at Manchester in 1705 or thereabouts, it is said 
incidentally that the hour of visiting was then two ; but the visits 
were all paid in time to allow her to attend prayers at four in the 
Old Church, which in the nineteenth century was refounded as 
the cathedral. 2 

It was hardly to be looked for that Mrs. Centlivre should bear 
testimony to Church practices. Her evidence immediately follow 
ing is indirect, but not therefore the less trustworthy. 

CONST. Tis near Six I have a mind to see \i Belinda comes to Church 
this Morning. 

Lov. She seldom fails. 

and again : 

there's a person at hand that may prevent your Six o'Clock Prayers. 3 

At St. James' Westminster, they had daily service in 1687, at 
1 1 and 4, only twice a day ; but the Rector taking leave of his 
parish in 1708 on becoming Bishop of Norwich 4 can congratulate 
the parish on four daily services : 

The numerous and orderly Assemblies . . . the good Congregations 
there are at all the four Courses of the Daily Prayers ; . . . The calling 
for more Opportunities of Worship, which has added a Course to the Daily 
Service in one part of the Parish,* and occasioned the opening of a New 
Chapel in another.** 

* King street Chapel. ** Barwick Street. 

Sir John Morden, Baronet, the founder of Morden College for 
decayed Merchants, directs in his will executed before 1708 

That the Chapel in the said College be Consecrated : And that there 
be a sober, devout, and discreet Person, in Holy Orders, appointed to be 

1 [George Wheler,] The Protestant Monastery, 1698, p. 154. 

2 J. Aikin, A Description of the Country . . . round Manchester, London, Stock- 
dale, 1795, p. 186. 

3 Mrs. Centlivre, The man's bewitch'd, Act I. The Basset Table, Act I. from Works, 
London, 1761, vol. i. p. 209, and vol. iii. p. 86. 

4 Charles [Trimnell], A sermon preached at . . . St. James Westminster . . . at 
his taking his Leave of the said Parish, London, Chapman, 1709, p. 25. 


Chaplain to the College, to read Divine Service there, according to the 
present Liturgy of the Church of England, as now by Law established, 
Twice every day, Morning and Evening. 

Also he wills 

that all the Merchants do constantly go to Chapel and Divine Service 
twice every Day without fail, if they are able. 1 

There is just the same idea in the Whig, Sir Andrew 
Freeport, who, on withdrawing from the world, announces his in 
tention of building an Almshouse for twelve poor Husbandmen : 

It will be a great pleasure to me to say my Prayers twice a day with 
Men of my own Years, who all of them, as well as my self, may have their 
Thoughts taken up how they shall die, rather than how they shall live. 2 

Swift attacks a parson for " making the bowling-green his daily 
residence, instead of his church, where his curate reads prayers 
every day ". 3 

Daily morning and evening service was still going on in 1710- 
1 1 at St. Paul's Covent Garden, for the Sexton is made to complain 
of the disappearance of the fashionable world that patronised in 
stead a puppet show in the Piazza. He says, plaintively, 

There now appear among us none but a few ordinary People, who 
come to Church only to say their Prayers. 4 

The Spectator speaks of a man with a great fortune, the over 
plus of which he gives away and he leads a most retired and austere 
life, having " no one necessary Attention to any thing but the Bell 
which calls to Prayers twice a day". 5 

The Guardian gives this description of the daily service : 

the other Morning I happened to rise earlier than ordinary, and thought 
I could not pass my Time better than to go upon the Admonition of the 
Morning Bell to the Church Prayers at six of the Clock. I was there the 
first of any in the Congregation . . . there was none at the Confession 
but a Sett of poor Scrubs of us, who could Sin only in our Wills, whose 
Persons could be no Temptation to one another . . . when we poor Souls 
had presented our selves with a Contrition suitable to our Worthlessness, 
some pretty young Ladies in Mobbs, popped in here and there about the 
Church, clattering the Pew Dour after them. . . . For the sake of these 

1 John Stow, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, ed. John Strype, 
London, 1720, Book I. p. 221. 

2 Spectator , No. 549, Saturday, November 29, 1712. 

3 J. Swift, The Tatler, No. 71, Thursday, Sept. 22, 1709, in Works, ed. W. Scott, 
Edinburgh, 1814, vol. ix. p. 230. 

4 Spectator, No. 14, March 16, 1710-11. 

5 ibid. No. 264, Wednesday, January 2, 1711-12. 



it is worth while, that the Church keeps up such early Mattins throughout 
the Cities of London and Westminster.^ 

In 1713 Ambrose Bonwicke as soon as he arrives in London 
goes to church that same night, and " according to his constant 
practice, was twice a day at church while he continued in town ". 2 

In 1/15 there was executed a deed by which the Squire of Ham 
assigned the great tithes to the Vicar in consideration that the ser 
vice should be said daily in the church ; and if omitted, a fine not 
exceeding sixpence was to be exacted. 3 The squire had a very 
right sense of the purpose of endowments : to wit, to maintain the 
public service of God in a parish. 

In the same year another Squire showed his piety. 

William Coke (1679-1718) who built the present church, was a well- 
known Derbyshire squire, famous for his pack of harriers, and a zealous 
Churchman of his days. He always attended morning prayers, read by 
the rector of Trusley, before hunting, as well as evensong after his 
return. 4 

The Tory foxhunter, coming to London, is pleased to find " that 
Clergymen, instead of being affronted, had generally the Wall given 
them ; and that he had heard the Bells ring to Prayers from Morning 
to Night in some part of the Town or another ". 5 And Sir Roger 
de Coverley bids the Spectator " observe how thick the City was set 
with Churches, and that there was scarce a single Steeple on this 
side Temple-Bar. A most Heathenish Sight ! says Sir Roger : 
There is no Religion at this End of the Town." 6 

It was evidently thought a duty to attend the daily service ; for 
Addison speaks thus of Queen Caroline, the wife of King George 
the Second, that as Princess of Wales 

She is constant in her Attendance on the daily Offices of our Church, 
and by her serious and devout Comportment on these solemn occasions, 
gives an Example that is very often too much wanted in Courts. 7 

Others have reported differently of the conduct. 

1 Guardian, No. 65, Tuesday, May 26, 1713. 

z Life of Ambrose Bonwicke, by his father, ed. by J. E. B. Mayor; Deighton 
Bell, 1870, p. 66. 

3 Ecclesiologist, 1861, vol. xxii. p. 300. 

4 J. Charles Cox, Athenaum, 1907, Sept. 28, p. 373. 

5 Jos. Addison, Freeholder^ No. 47, June i, 1717, London, Tonson and Draper, 
I75i, P- 274. 

6 Spectator, No. 383, Tuesday, May 20, 1712. Sir Roger's statement will be con 
firmed by a glance at Sayer's View of London, 1788. 

7 J. Addison, Freeholder, No. 21, Friday, March 2, 1715. 


At a fashionable watering-place like Tunbridge Wells, the daily 
service was not forgotten. We read : 

After the Appearance is over at the Wells, (where the Ladies are all 
undress'd) and at the Chapel, the Company go home. 1 

Fielding in the Temple Beau, first acted in 1729, alludes to Daily 

LADY LUCY. That you rail at the diversions of the town . . . that 
you went to church, twice a day, a whole year and a half, because you 
was in love with the parson ; ha, ha, ha ! 2 

And again in the Modern Husband, acted in 1731, a fashionable 
lady protests that 

if a husband were to insist upon my never missing any one diversion this 
town affords, I believe in my conscience I should go twice a day to church 
to avoid them. 3 

In Clarissa Harlowe, a reforming rake is told : " It is not every 
girl of fortune and family that will go to prayers with thee once or 
twice a day ". 4 The heroine speaks of the daily prayers in several 
churches : St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street at 7 in the morn 
ing ; Lincoln's Inn Chapel at eleven and five ; and Covent Garden 
Church at six, 5 and she wishes to attend them. 

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu mocking the devotional practices 
of her time and the backbiting which accompanied them writes : 

Sermons I sought, and with a mien severe 
Censur'd my neighbours, and said daily pray'r. 6 

In 1742 Fielding ridicules 

those pure and sanctified virgins, who, after a life innocently spent in the 
gaieties of the town, begin about fifty to attend twice per diem at the polite 
churches and chapels. 7 

We may have seen something like this in the nineteenth century. 
At Bath there seems to have been some attendance of the 

1 [Daniel Defoe,] A tour thro' the whole Island of Great Britain, London, Strahan, 
1724, vol. i. Letter ii. p. 56. The third edition has " in Deshabille " instead of " un 
dressed " (p. 179). 

2 Henry Fielding, T he Temple Beau, act i, sc. i. Works, ed. Murphy and Browne, 
London, Bickers, 1871, vol. i. p. 186. 

3 The modern Husband, act v. sc. 10. ibid. vol. ii. p. 251. 

4 S. Richardson, Clarissa Harlowe, Tauchnitz, vol. iv. p. 402, Letter civ. 

5 ibid. p. 24, Letter vii. and p. 152, Letter Ixv. 

6 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Six Town Eclogues, London, Cooper, 1747, p. 6, 
for Monday. 

7 Henry Fielding, History of . . . Joseph Andrews, Book I. ch. viii. in Works, ed. 
Murphy and Browne, London, Bickers, 1871, vol. v. p. 45. 



fashionable company at the daily service. It is part of the pleading 
of the Rev. John Jackson, who does not seem to have been accounted 
quite orthodox, that during his stay at Bath " he attended constantly 
the Prayers of the Church twice a day". 1 Further it is said : 

Tis also the Fashion of the place for the Company to go every Day 
pretty constantly to hear Divine Service at the great Church, and at St. 
Mary's Chapel in Queers-square^ where are Prayers twice a day. 2 

A letter from Bath, dated May 9, 1747 speaks of the daily 
service at St. Mary's : 

Scarce had the Bell of St. Marys chapel done ringing for morning prayers 
on Thursday last before a smoak &c. 3 

Goldsmith in his life of Nash, the King of Bath, alludes to the 
daily service, but not as if everybody were expected to attend 
church every day. "When noon approaches, and church (if any 
please to go there) is done " ; and later in the day : " After dinner is 
over, and evening prayers ended". 4 

But in a Bath Guide, which cannot be earlier than 1766, are 
some verses of no great merit, which, however, describe the daily 
life of Bath. 

Arise betime, to Pump repair, 
First take the Water, then the Air ; 
* * * 

Frequent the Church in decent Dress, 

There offer up religious Vows ; 
Yourself to none but GOD address ; 

Avoiding foppish Forms and Bows. 

It will be seen that the bows and courtesies which the Spectator 
disapproved of 5 still continued. After church, exercise ; then dinner, 
followed by "chearful Chat and little Thought " or even by a hand 
at Whist and Ombre. Then 

The Mind unbent, your Thoughts prepare 
To bear a Part in Ev'ning Pray'r : 
That Duty done, a Draught repeat ; 
Concoction help with liquid Heat. 6 

1 A narrative of the case of the Reverend Mr. Jackson being refused the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper at Bath, London, J. Noon, 1736, p. 3. 

2 [Daniel Defoe,] A Tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, third edition, 
London, 1742, vol. ii. p. 255. This passage is not in the edition of 1724. 

3 Manchester Magazine, May 19, 1747. 

4 Oliver Goldsmith, Life of Richard Nash, in the Globe edition of Miscellaneous 
Works, Macmillan, 1869, p. 525. 

5 See below, p. 172. 

6 The New Bath Guide, Bath, Pope, fifth edition, p. 15. 


At Exeter the traveller notes that 

Tis no uncommon Thing to see 500 People here in a Morning, which 
is at least five times as many as usually attend at St. Paul's^ or any other 
Six o'clock Chapel I was ever at : And 'tis commendable, that the Reader 
doth not here curtail the Morning Service, by leaving out any Part there 
of, as in other places they do. 1 

The Student of the Inns of Court complains to Dr. Denis Gran- 
ville of grievous mutilation. 2 In the text of A Tour the writer remarks 
on the grave and pious behaviour of the congregation at Exeter. 

After the middle of the century going to church every day con 
tinues. A journalist speaks of: " The fine lady of fashion . . . 
who attends the sermon every Sunday, and prayers every week-day ". 3 

So with the reverse of a fashionable lady ; the inhabitants of a 
workhouse are said to have a handsome Chapel 

where they go to Prayers twice a Day, at Seven in the Morning and Seven 
in the Evening. On Sundays they all go to St. Helen's, where they have 
Seats. 4 

This is the London workhouse, near Bishopsgate Street. In 
1714 the hours were the same. 5 
Of the Temple it is said that 

Besides the master, there is a reader, who reads divine service twice 
a day, at eight o'clock in the morning, and at four in the afternoon. 6 

In 1762 the time of the Cock Lane ghost, 

the officiating clerk of St. Sepulchre's, observing one morning at early 
prayers, a genteel couple standing in the aisle, 7 &c. 

William Cowper writing to Lady Hesketh on Sept. 14, 1765 
says of a clergyman, Mr. Nicholson : 

He reads prayers here twice a day, all the year round ; and travels on 
foot to serve two churches every Sunday through the year. 8 

and the poet attends the daily service himself. Speaking of his 
every-day mode of life he says : 

1 [Daniel Defoe,] A tour thro" the Whole Island of Great Britain, third edition, 
London, 1742, vol. i. p. 316 note. This edition is said to be edited by Samuel Richardson. 
The note does not occur in the edition of 1724, but it is in the seventh edition of 1769. 

2 See Appendix to this Chapter, p. 112. 

3 The World, No. 184, July 8, 1756. 

4 [Daniel Defoe,] A tour through the whole Island of Great Britain, London, 1753, 
fifth ed. vol. ii. p. 112. 

5 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Taylor, 1714, p. 140. 

6 London and its environs described, London, Dodsley, 1761, vol. vi. p. 113. 

7 Annual Register, 1762, Chronicle, Sept. p. 142. 

8 W. Benham, Letters of William Cowper, London, Macmillan, 1884, p. 9. 


at eleven we attend divine service, which is performed here twice every 
day. 1 

Of the Duke of Newcastle, the minister in the middle of the 
eighteenth century who, while corrupting others, was incorruptible 
himself, and died .300,000 poorer than when he began official life, 
it is said : 

He was affable and religious, having divine service constantly per 
formed twice a day in his family, both in town and country, and at stated 
times the sacrament was administered, at which he constantly communi 
cated. 2 

Some few years before, there died Gilbert West, one of the 
minor poets, whose life was written by Dr. Johnson, and of whom 
he says : 

Perhaps it may not be without effect to tell, that he read the prayers 
of the public liturgy every morning to his family, and that on Sunday 
evening he called his servants into the parlour, and read to them first a 
sermon and then prayers. Crashaw is now not the only maker of verses 
to whom may be given the two venerable names of Poet and Saint . . . 
as infidels do not want malignity, they revenged the disappointment by 
calling him a Methodist. 8 

One who meant seriously to try and do his duty was at that 
time often vilified as a Methodist. So again the chaplain in a 
country house remarks : 

I had nothing to do but to say grace at meals ; for the Squire was no 
Methodist^ and hated \hepomp of daily prayers in the family. 4 

This excerpt brings out two points : one, that in a squire's family 
it was the custom to say the daily prayers ; the other, the use of 
the word methodist, an illustration of what has been said before. 
Nothing is so useful as the calling of names. Dr. Home found it so 
at Oxford : 

If he mentions the assistance and direction of the Holy Spirit, with the 
necessity of prayer, mortification, and taking up the cross "O, he is a 
Methodist ! " If he talks of the divine right of episcopacy, and the power of 
the keys, with a word concerning the danger of schism " Just going over 
to Popery ! " 5 

1 W. Benham, Letters of William Cowper, London, Macmillan, 1884, p. 16. 

2 Annual Register, 1768, Nov. 17, Chronicle, p. 187. 

3 Samuel Johnson, Life of Gilbert West, in Works, Edinburgh, 1806, vol. xiii. p. 

4 The Student or the Oxford Monthly Miscellany, 1751, vol. ii. p. 182. 

5 George Home, An Apology to certain Gentlemen in the University of Oxford, in 
Works, ed. by William Jones, London, Rivington, 1818, vol. iv. p. 167. 


Towards the end of the century, in 1780, Dr. Johnson wrote a 
letter to a young clergyman who asked for advice against falling into 
improprieties in the daily service. 1 This helps the opinion that daily 
service was no extraordinary thing at that time ; the parish which 
the young clergy man 'served seems to have been barbarous, and thus 
without the likelihood of a congregation to keep up the services. 

Early service went on every day in the Royal Chapel at Windsor 
in 1785 and 1786. Mrs. Delany writes as follows: 

Sept. 20, 1785. I have been three times at the King's private chapel at 
early prayers, eight o'clock, where the royal family constantly attend ; and 
they walk home to breakfast afterwards. 2 

and a few pages after : 

July 3, 1 786. I seldom miss going to early prayers at the King's chapel, 
at eight o'clock, where I never fail of seeing Their Majesties and all the 
royal family. 3 

This practice of King George the Third is made in 1 794 the text 
of an exhortation to frequent the daily service : following 

the example of a Personage, who has a greater weight of duties, a greater 
burden of cares, a greater variety of earthly concerns upon his mind, than any 
other individual amongst us. ... After this, let no excuses be made for 
the neglect of our daily Service. 4 

This daily attendance still went on in I Sop, 5 that is until the 
year immediately before the illness from which the King did not 

The attendance at the daily services of the Collegiate Church at 
Manchester was maintained at least till late in the century. An old 
lady dying in 1 790 is spoken of as attending the services "almost daily, 
and latterly brought by two footmen in livery in a sedan chair ". 6 

Quite at the end of the eighteenth century the editor of the 
sermons of Dr. Berkeley, the son of the philosopher, speaks of the 
week day services as if they were a thing given up recently, within 
the memory of man. 

1 BoswelVs Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. iii. p. 436. 
Letter dated Aug. 30, 1780. 

2 Letters of Mrs. Delany, London, Longman, 1820, sec. ed. p. 60. 

3 ibid. p. 67. 

4 William Best, An Essay on the Service of the Church of England, considered as a 
daily service, S.P.C.K. 1794, p. vi. of the preface written by the editor of 1794. 

5 See the Times of June 6, 1809. 

6 F. R. Raines and F. Renaud, The fellows of the Collegiate Church of Manchester, 
Chetham Society, 1891, Part ii. p. 213. 


The editor humbly conceives that one great cause of the ignorance of 
the lower ranks of people, and of course the lamentable decay of Christian 
piety, is the almost universal abolition of week-day prayers in the country. 
. . . Many aged poor people, unable to read in their own small-print Bibles, 
by attending regularly week-day and saints -day prayers, hear the word of 
God read to them. . . . 

It is quite delightful ... to see what numbers of traders high and 
low attend the week-day prayers at Henley upon Thames. . . . Very early 
and late prayers in London are still attended, as about thirty years ago 
they were at Canterbury. The editor has frequently counted twenty ladies, 
gentlemen, traders, and servants, in the sermon-house, where they were 
read at Canterbury on a morning at six o'clock. 1 

Imitation is the sincerest flattery; and at the end of the seven 
teenth century it would seem that the Dissenters copied the daily 
services of the Church. Dryden, in his play of Limberham, has the 
following dialogue between a master and his man : 

GERVASE. 'Tis already order'd, Sir : But they are like to stay in the 
outer Room, till the Mistress of the House return from Morning Exercise. 

WOODALL. What, she's gone to the Parish Church, it seems, to her 

GERV. No, Sir ; the Servants have inform'd me, that she rises every 
Morning, and goes to a private Meeting-house ; where they pray for the 
Government, and practise against the Authority of it. 2 

So at the beginning of the next century, in 1711, one of the 
correspondents of the Spectator complains of his wife thus : 

I am one of those unhappy Men that are plagued with a Gospel- Gossip, 
so common among Dissenters (especially Friends) Lectures in the Morn 
ing, Church- Meetings at Noon, and Preparation Sermons at Night, take up 
so much of her Time, 'tis very rare she knows what we have for Dinner. 3 

Ralph Thoresby, not exactly an enthusiastic Churchman, doubt 
ful about the cross in baptism, "(which though I think lawful, yet 
had rather omit) " about godfathers, and kneeling at Communion, 
yet thus speaks of the daily service on August 8, 1702 : 

nor should I ever, I hope, as long as I am able to walk, so far forbear 
a constant attendance upon the public common prayers twice every day. 4 

Thus a man with a Nonconformist mind can see the advantage 
of a daily cycle of worship, and the daily services must have been 

1 George Berkeley, Sermons, London, Rivingtons, 1799, editor's preface, p. xxii. 

2 John Dryden, Limberham : or the Kind Keeper, act i. sc. i in Dramatick Works, 
London, Tonson, 1763, vol. iv. p. 289. 

3 Spectator, No. 46, Monday, April 23, 1711. 

4 The diary of Ralph Thoresby, ed. Joseph Hunter, London, Colburn, 1830, vol. i. 
P- 375- 


attended by dissenters who found them profitable ; for the Guardian 
remarks : 

It has happened that the Person, who is seen every Day at Church, 
has not been in the Eye of the World a Churchman, and he who is very 
zealous to oblige every Man to frequent it, but himself, has been held a 
very good Son of the Church. 1 

The tables given below are the best answer to the opinion com 
monly entertained that the clergy in the Church of England were a 
slothful and indolent set of men throughout the eighteenth century. 
It is also some testimony to the devotion of the laity ; for, as Sir 
Walter Besant observes, "clergymen certainly do not go on reading 
the prayers to empty pews ". 2 

But malice has not been wanting in attempts to exhibit the 
English clergy in the worst light. At the end of the eighteenth 
century they had very possibly become lax, but not to the degree 
which some represent Thus Arthur Young, while exonerating the 
clergy of France from gross outward scandals, blames the English 
clergy of his time (about 1792) and accuses them of reeling from 
inebriety to the pulpit. Advertisements like this, he asserts, were 
never seen in France : 

Wanted a curacy in a good sporting country where the duty is light 
and the neighbourhood convivial. 3 

It should, however, be noticed that Arthur Young distinctly 
disavows having seen the advertisement. He has only been told 
of it. He gives no reference, and, like many other amusing scandals, 
it may possibly prove incapable of verification. Perhaps some may 
doubt if it were just of him to bring so grave an accusation on such 
insufficient grounds. Even with the high character which the 
French clergy bear so deservedly at the present moment, one may 
read every now and then accusations against them of drunkenness 
in public places. 

Sir John Hawkins writing in 1787 when the Latitudinarian 
influence had become strong, says that the clergy were then 

neglecting their studies for cards, preaching the sermons of others, and 
affecting, in many particulars of their dress, the garb of the laity. 4 

and farther on he says : 

1 Guardian, No. 80, Friday, June 12, 1713. 

2 Walter Besant, London in the Eighteenth Century, A. & C. Black, 1902, p. 147. 

8 Arthur Young, Travels in France, ed. Betham- Edwards, Bell & Co. 1905, p. 327. 
4 John Hawkins, Life of Samuel Johnson, London, 1787, p. 19. 


the clergyman was now become an amphibious being, that is to say 
both an ecclesiastic and a laic. 1 

These statements are far more likely than the gross insinuations 
of Arthur Young. And it may be remembered that Coleridge when a 
Unitarian Minister in 1798 declares that the clergy are many of them 
Unitarians and Democrats, 2 very much as many at the present day. 

But supposing all these accusations to be true, so far as the writers' 
experiences went, there were yet clergymen who did their duty by 
their parishes even at the end of the eighteenth century. Let us 
take as an example an obscure country parish in Wiltshire where if 
we judge from the births and deaths entered in the registers the 
population was sparse. Yet it is recorded that Dr. John Eyre, 
who died in 1792, had been Curate for thirty-three years, 

in which long time he never once omitted the Duties of his Sacred 
Function, performing Divine Service twice every Lord's Day, Saints' Days, 
and every Wednesday and Friday unless hindered by the mere force of 
extreme affliction. 3 

The prayers which this good man offered to the Almighty were 
doubtless as warm and affectionate as those which in the beginning 
of the twentieth century we put up with all the aid that music and 
magnificent surroundings can give. I remember reading in the 
columns of the Tablet, in 1885, the statement by a convert to 
Popery that he recollected the peculiar delight of evensong without 
music in an unrestored church. 

One of my correspondents, a convert, writes to me of the charm still 
dwelling in his memory of the Anglican Evensong as he recalls it, on 
many a peaceful summer afternoon, in a quiet, unrestored little church in 
the heart of the country (with a glimpse of rural landscape seen through 
the open doorway), where there was no chanting or intoning, but where 
the service was simply and distinctly read. 4 

But when the daily services in the parish church were discon 
tinued, the instinct of churchmen led them to a domestic or private 
recitation at home of the very pith and marrow of the divine service, 
that is, the daily psalms and lessons. They used to be read in many 
families till after the middle of the nineteenth century. It is 
recognised now by our best liturgical scholars that it is the psalms 

1 John Hawkins, Life of Samuel Johnson, London, 1787, p. 261. 

2 See below, ch. vi. p. 192. 

8 G. R. Hadow, The Registers of the Parish of Wylye in the county of Wilts, 
Devizes, G. Simpson, 1913, p. 141. 

4 Tablet, Feb. 14, 1885, p. 259, in a note to Letter IV. on the Conversion of Eng 
land, by Mr. St. George Mivart. 


and the lessons followed by the Lord's Prayer, which make up the 
essence of divine service. 

Mr. Henry Jenner tells me that his grandfather, Sir Herbert 
Jenner-Fust, who was appointed Dean of the Arches in 1834, used 
every morning to read the psalms and lessons of the day in his 
study, before going into Court. 

The custom was already known in the first half of the eighteenth 

From the vain converse of the world retir'd 
She reads the psalms and chapters for the day. 1 

At the end of the eighteenth century Mary Lamb had to read to 
her elders " the psalms and the chapters, which was my daily task ". 2 
And the same was the practice of Mrs. Temple with her son 
Frederick, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. 3 

Dr. Pusey speaks of the practice as a matter of common know 
ledge before 1833 : 

Since our Daily Service has been nearly lost, many pious individuals, 
it is well known, have habitually read just that portion which the Church 
has allotted. 4 

Amongst my own kith and kin, I can remember the reading of 
the daily psalms and lessons by a daughter to an aged mother about 
the year 1850. 

Describing the practice of a Devonshire family, perhaps before 
1 840, the author says : 

We used to be in the schoolroom at eight, and then we read round, by 
turns, the Psalms and Lessons for the day. 5 


1692 = Single Sheet folio [British Museum, 491. k. 4. (n.)]. 

1708 = A new view of London, in two volumes, London, Chiswell, 1708. 

1714 = James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Downing and Taylor, 1714. 

1732 = New Remarks of London, collected by the Company of Parish Clerks, printed 

by Edward Midwinter, 1732. 
1746 = William Best, An Essay upon the Service of the Church of England, considered 

as a daily service, London, 1746. 

1824 = London Parishes, London, Weed and Jeffery, 1824. 
s = summer ; w = winter. 

1 Edward Young, Works, London, vol. i. p. 122, in Love of Fame, Satire V. 

2 E. V. Lucas, The Life of Charles Lamb, London, Methuen, sec. ed. 1905, ch. iii. 
p. 25. 

3 Memoirs of Archbishop Temple, edited by E. G. Sandford, London, Macmillan, 
1906, vol. i. p. 18. 

4 Tracts for the Times, No. 18, on Fasting, by E. P. Pusey, new edition, 1840, p. 8. 

5 An elderly Bachelor, Not many Years ago, London, Skeffington, 1898, sec. ed. p. n. 


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(f. 198). Letter from a young Gentleman, Student in the Inns of Court ^ to a 
Reverend Divine in the Country, Complaining of ministers Irregularity in 
the Citty of London, etc. in point of Conformity. 

REVEREND SIR, Knowing you to have a right Nocion of that exact Con 
formity to the Rule of God's Publick Worshipp, which the Church requires, 
having made it both your Study and your Practice, to keep up the Re- 
putacion of our Liturgy, which I have often heard you Declare you thought 
soe Sacred, that you judg'd it a great fault in any Churchman to Add 
thereto, or Diminish from it, in the Publick Discharge of his Office, I make 
bold to addresse myself to you for Resolucion in some particulars, that I 
have frequently Discoursed with you, desiring you to give mee a little more 
ample Satisfaction by your Pen, then I have been capable to receive from 
your Discourse, by word of Mouth, concerning our old Theme of Con 
formity (which you know is the ordinary Subject of our Discourse) how far 
the Comon Prayer book, as it now stands Ratified by two Acts of Uniform 
ity, obligeth both Priest and people. You will pardon mee Sir I hope, if I 
make bold sometimes to Censure some of your Brethren, being of an In- 
feriour Profession, and Exalted no higher than a Round cap in one of the 
Inns of Court. 2 No Man Honours the Function more than I doe, and it 
is Respect to the Coat, as well as God's Service, that does ingage mee, if 
my Heart deceives mee not, in this present Attempt. I have had, from my 
very Cradle, a great Affection for the Church of England, and have been 
all along of the Judgment, that God's Publick Worshipp ought to bee pre 
scribed, and not Prostituted to the Wills and Fancies of any private person. 
And have thought it my great Felicity in being born a Member of the 
Church of England which Binds up Ministers Hands more 'strictly than 
other Churches, from varying from the publick Rule Established by Law. 

1 After Court, Compla struck out in MS. 

2 Altered in MS. from Exalted no higher than a Shog. 



Sir I may chance to bee a little too Nice and Squeamish, in this particular; 
and if you find mee soe, I pray shew mee my Errour and set mee Right. 
I Confesse I am much offended and Disturbed, whensoever I hear any 
Minister Maime God's Publick Service, or add any New Matter of his own, 
or else Exalt his own Prudence, in Varying from the Forme or Order 
thereof, tho' hee should use no other Prayers, but what are Conteined in 
the Book. All which seems 1 to mee to bee Expresly against the Designe 
of the Church as well as his own Obligacions, Every Priest having Promised 
the contrary, both by Word of Mouth and under his Hand. These Things 
alone do Create a great Deale of Disturbance to my Mind, for it causeth 
mee to 2 trott up and down to the Prejudice of my Health, as well as my 
Affairs, on Sundayes as well as Weekdayes, for the Satisfaction of an Intire 
Service, performed Exactly according to the Kubrick without any Exercise 
of the Prudence of a Private Man, 3 which does methinks 4 but Sully a Divine 
Office of Publick Composure and Authority. Which is a Felicity which I 
cannot yet Discover in all London, tho', Blessed bee God, London is 
Metamorphised exceedingly for the better, in Point of Conformity both of 
Priest and People. Wee have yet as many severall wayes of Worshipp, as 
wee have Ministers, and every one that I could yet Discover, offends in 
some thing that is clearly contrary to Law, which tho' it may appear some 
times to bee but in a very small Matter, yet it being a Breach of an Esta- 
blish'd Publick Order, and an Exaltacion of Private Prudence above the 
Church's, it appears to mee to bee a very high Offence, and I am sure it is 
of very Lamentable Consequence, it being probably one speciall Root of 
our Non-Conformity, Ministers by Neglect of their Duty, Creating wrong 
Nocions in the people, and the people taking wrong Measures from their 
Divided Practice, which Proclaimes a manifest Contempt of the Book, which 
they have, Publickly in a Congregacion, Declared, that they did approve of 
in their Judgment and Resolve to Practice ; for soe much 1 5 have ever 
Conceived the Words of Assent and Consent to suppose. To bee a little 
more particular. One Cuts of[f] the Preparatory Exhortacion, Dearly Be 
loved Brethren etc., Another the Benedictus and Jubilate, and satisfyeth 
himself with a Psalme in Meeter in stead thereof, out of Sternald and 
Hopkins, which, all know, is no part of your Office, and a bad Translacion, 
considering 6 the Language of our Age (tho' probably it was very tolerable 
when it was first Composed) and never approved of in a Convocacion. A 
Third brings in part of the Visitacion Office, Comanded to bee said in the 
Sick Man's presence, into the Publick Congregacion, and sometimes with 
soe much Impertinence, and Indiscreet Addicions of his own, by reason of 
the multitude of Bills that are brought to 7 Ministers here in our 8 City ; 

1 altered from seem. 2 to added above the line. 

3 Man added above the line. 4 methinks added above the line. 

5 I added above the line. 6 our struck out after considering. 

7 to altered from the. 8 our altered from the. 


that besides the severall Disturbances occasioned by sundry Hiatus's, by 
the Surprisall of the Minister with some Bills, to which hee knowes not 
what to say, I have often Blush'd for the Ministers Sake, to see him Intro 
duce a Practice voluntarily on his own head, and to Manage it with soe 
little Discretion, and as I humbly Conceive not at all to Edificacion. A 
Fourth Adds very Formally a Preface of his own l to the Recitall of the 
Creed, tho' hee (f. i98 b ) would not allow of 2 one of the Church's 3 to 
the whole Service. A Fifth Jumbles both first and Second Service to 
gether, Cutting of[f] not only the Concluding Prayer of St. Chrysostome, and 
the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, but allso our Lord's Prayer, in the 
Front of the Comunion Office, which I have alwaies look'd on as an extra 
ordinary piece of Boldnesse. A Sixth more presumptuously not only Cuts 
of[f] the Lord's Prayer alone, but both the 4 Lord's Prayer and Nicene Creed 
allsoe. A Seventh, who avoids those Irregularityes, yet Presumes after 
Sermon 5 to Cut of the Prayer for the Church Militant, and the Final 
Benediction, The Peace of God, etc. hoping to satisfye his Congregacion, 
(but I am sure hee never Satisfied mee) with a Benediction of his own 
Choice, and Prayer of his own Composure. An Eight [h] Justles out the 
Office of Churching, or Publick Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, 
til after the Benediction and Departure of the Congregacion, tho' it bee 
Evident, that the Office was intended Publickly in time of Divine Service, 
because there is not added thereunto, as to the Office of Buriall, etc. any 
Conclusive Prayer or Benediction. A 6 Ninth takes as great a Liberty 
with the Sacrament of Baptism, as others doe with the ordinary Service, 
and will not Allow 7 it 8 the Honour that the Church Designs, in being 
done after the 9 Second Lesson, in the face of a Congregacion ; (which, 
Gravely and Reverently Perform'd, I have ever Conceived more to Edi 
ficacion than the best Sermon), shuffling it over, as I have often seen, at a 
Font, sometimes unhappily Placed in a Corner, with not above ten persons 
to assist thereat, when there were before above a thousand in the Congre 
gacion, thus Depriving the poor Infant of the joint Prayers of the Assembly, 
and the Assembly of the great Advantage of hearing the Solemn Repeti- 
cion of their Vow at Baptisme. An Office, which, if it were not Comanded 
to bee done in Time of Divine Service, appears to bee soe Intended, be 
cause there is noe Blessing Annexed thereunto, more than to the former. 
A Tenth on a Sacrament Day takes upon him contrary to the Designe of 
the Church Gravely to Dismisse his Congregacion with a Blessing, for 
Prophanely turning their Backs upon God's Altar, Pronouncing the very 
Peace of God to those that proclaime a manifest Contempt of their Saviour's 

1 of his own added above the line. 2 of added above the line. 

3 of the Church's added above the line. 4 the added above the line. 

5 Sermon altered from Service. 6 A added above the line. 

7 not Allow written twice, and the second time struck out. 

8 it added above the line. 9 the added above the line. 



Death and Passion, by a sinfull Departure, when they are Invited to that 
Heavenly Feast, not only by the Exhortacion of the Priest, but by the 
very Elements Exposed on the Altar. Sir, If I should prosecute this point 
of l the Cleargy in 2 their Irregularityes, I should make my Lettre like a 
Fanatick Sermon, and come up to one and thirtiethly, which would Tyre 
both you and mee allsoe. The other Things therefore at present I shall 
only hint to you in grosse, namely the Reading the Communion Service in 
the Desk, when the Church appoints it at the Altar. The Reading not 
Service at all in most Churches weekly, when the 3 Church Commands it to 
bee in every one Dayly. Catechising the Children but only in Lent, when 
the Church comands it throughout the whole Year, and when they do 
Catechise, performing that Duty on Week dayes, in a very small Assembly, 
when the Church comands it to bee done on Sundayes and Holydayes in 
the Afternoon, and 4 when here in our City wee may assure ourselves of a 
very full Congregacion. Churching Women in the Chamber, as well as 
Visiting the Sick in the Church. Baptising Children almost generally 
in private Houses, without the least appearance of Necessity. And Ad- 
ministring the Comunion allsoe oftentimes to the whole, in private where 
they have no Conveniency of a Chappell ; which as I remember is quite 
contrary to the Canon, and I am sure, the Dignity of that holy Sacrament. 
And these three last Dutyes most comonly performed, as our Burialls are, 
without the Surplice, and sometimes, I have seen, without a Gown. These 
manifest Contradictions of the Law do very much Scandalise mee, and I 
doubt not, many others; but that which does chiefly Discompose mee 
when I am in the Church, (and which does almost unfit mee, by Disturb 
ing my Thoughts, to pray that Day), is, to see a Minister, who has Sub 
mitted to the Authority of the Church, in his Ordinacion and Admission 
to a Living, Promising Canonicall Obedience, nay who has Subscribed 
under his own Hand, that hee does approve of the Prayers of the Church 
of England and resolves in Publick to use no other, Presume not only pub- 
lickly 5 to affront his Mother, but to Expose himself, by giving himself the 
Lye, by Venting a Prayer, (and sometimes I have heard an Impertinent 
one) of Private Composure. In which Practice there seemd to mee so 
many Absurdityes, that to Reflect on them all Severally would afford 
Matter enough for such another Letter. I shall rather refer you to an 
Excellent little Pamphlet which I lately met withall, Intitled the Old Puri 
tan Detected and Defeated, by a Reverend Divine, now with God, which 
I am told was the worthy Doctor Steward, a great Sufferer, and Clark of 
the Closet to his Majestic, when hee was abroad at Paris. Which Piece 
has done a great Deale of Good already in shaming some out of this 

1 this point of added in the margin. z in altered from according to. 

3 the altered from they. 4 and added above the line. 

5 publickly added above the line. 


Irregularity, 1 and will I hope erelong Convince many more (to which End 
it will bee a very good Work I think, that it was made very Publick, and 
Dispersed about the Kingdome) that this Irregular Practice Feeds a Temper, 
which must Inevitably, if there bee no timely Check given thereto, Worme 
out once againe the Common Prayer; for I am persuaded (f. 199) as this 
Worthy Authour Intimates, that whereas it was at first a piece of Malicious 
Craft, (not to say worse) in Cartwright, who certainly was the Beginner of 
this Practice, soe it is now only Inconsideracion in the Generality of Cleargy 
who Continue it. Tho' I am struck with Admiracion, how soe many 
Eminent and Accomplish'd Persons, who are great Ornaments to the 
Church of England in other particulars, should bee soe grosly Deluded, as 
to Imitate soe pernicious a Practice, which fully Consider'd and Examined, 
I am confident, cannot bee maintained by any Ingenious and Sincere 
person, that has a Real Affection, as to the maine, for the Church of Eng 
land. And methinks it is now Impossible, (Mens Eyes being, God bee 
praised, a little more open, than they have been this twenty Years) but that 
a Point of soe great Importance, and the Strong .Hold of the Non-Conform 
ists, 2 must bee Consider'd, and Examined to the very Bottome ; and Care 
taken for the Banishment out of the Pulpit all kinds of Prayers and Ad 
dresses to God, that have not the Stamp of Authority, whether Ex Tempore 
ones, or else Forms of Private Composure, since both are certainly a Trans 
gression of the Law and open a Gap to the Exercise of Private Prudence 
in God's Publick Worshipp, the most Destructive Thing Imaginable to an 
Establish 'd Liturgy, and absolutely contrary to the Designe of the Church 
of England which does not give the least Liberty to a Minister to use any 
of his own Words, when hee speaks to the people, before Reading the first 
or second Lesson. Which well Consider'd, will bee a sufficient Argument 
that the Church of England never intended 'that every Minister should 
Leade the people in Prayer before a Sermon, whereto there are greater 
Qualificacions and more Sincerity Required, than to Preaching to the 
People, which yet wee know, ought not to bee performed without License 
from the Bishopps or the Universityes. 

Sir I beg your Pardon that I have Presumed thus far, in Interrupting 
you with soe Prolix a Letter, and in making sometimes a little too bold 
Reflections upon the Practice of the Cleargy of the Church of England. 
What I have writ, I appeale to God, is out of an honest Zeal, and if I Err 
herein, I beseech you, who have taken soe much Pains with mee already 
to take a few more, in Convincing mee, where you Conceive mee in the 
wrong, as well as Establishing mee where you Judg mee in the Right. In 
order whereto I do assure myself, that you will Condescend soe far, as to 
Pen down your Thoughts, as I have already Intimated, in the Beginning 

1 Irregularity altered from Irregular Practice. 

2 and . . . N on- Conformists added in the margin. 



of this Letter, in all these particulars relating to God's Service, which I 
humbly Recommend to your Consideracion, during the Time of this 
Ensueing Lent, and Returne them to mee, if possible, some few Dayes 
before Easter, for I do not doubt they may Contribute, as your Discourses 
and Letters have often done, to the putting my Mind in Frame, and 
raising it to a higher Pitch of Devotion than ordinary, according to all our 
Obligacions at the great Solemnity of Easter. I am, Sir, more than ever 
Convinc'd of the great Necessity, of making Religion and Vertue the 
Businesse of my Life, to which good Work, your good Counsell, by God's 
Blessing has much Contributed, and shall Indeavour, by the Assistance of 
the Almighty, with Fresh Courage and Resolucion, to Encounter all the 
Difficultyes and Temptacions of my Profession, which I Confesse are not 
a few, because my usuall Acquaintance and Companions of the Inns of 
Court, are none of the greatest Pretenders to Strictnesse of Life and high 
Devotion. In short, Sir I am very earnestly Bent to Save my Soul, and 1 
to Redresse any Scandalls that I may 2 have given by the Youthfull Vani 
ties and Vices of my past Life, desiring that I may Live soe, that neither 
my Conversacion, nor Practice, in the Way of my Calling, may Prove any 
Dishonour to the Church of England, whereto I am with wonderfull 
Affection Devoted, and in the Constitucion whereof I every Day see more 
and more Beauty, and by the serious Study whereof, (and more especially 
the Comon Prayer book, which, with the Learned and Pious Dr. Comber's 
Treatises thereon, I have spent some Time in considering, as well as my 
Lord Cook upon Littleton) I hope to Improve myself in Christianity, and 
true Orthodox Religion, than by all other Books in the world, besides my 
Bible. And tho' I fear I shall never arrive to the Pitch of Devotion of 
that worthy and Pious Person, who lately Published some excellent 
Advice to the Readers of the Comon Prayer, by the Name of a well mean 
ing and unlearned Laick etc. yet I hope I shall Labour Constantly in my 
poor Sphere to doe all that I can towards the Raising its Reputacion, 
which notwithstanding the false Suggestions of the Fanaticks, that wee do 
Idolize the Comon Prayer, suffers methinks under vile Contempt, soe long 
as Private Men 3 are permitted in the Publick Celebracion to Add thereto, 
or Diminish from it, or in any way to Vary or Change its Order, which 
doth in such an extraordinary Manner Disgust mee, whensoever I Discover 
any such Irregularity in any Cleargyman, tho' hee bee of the highest Note, 
(f. i99 b ) that I cannot easily Compose myself, I confesse my Infirmity, to 
give soe hearty Attencion 4 as I ought to his Discourses from the Pulpit, 
having some odd 5 kinds of Suspicions arise in my Soul, concerning those 
persons, on whom I Discover soe Notorious a Flaw and Grosse Ignorance, 
pardon the Expression, in Reference to the Designe of the Church in her 

1 doe struck out after and. 2 may altered from might. 

3 Private Men altered from any Private Man. 

4 Attencion altered from Intencions. 5 odd added above the line. 


Incomparable Liturgy. If I have been Transported into any unbecoming 
Expressions, by my great Concerne for the best of Forms, I shall upon 
your Censure of them, without farther Dispute, Confesse them, and Crave 
your Absolucion. Beseeching you that you will by no meanes Deny mee 
the humble Request that I make you here in this Letter, more than you 
doe your Prayers or good Advice by Word of Mouth, which I beseech you 
to Continue, I rest, with great Sincerity and Affection 

Dear and Reverend Sir 

Your most faithfull and most 
New Years Day (i68). humble Servant 

Answer from the aforesaid Divine to the 
Gentleman of the Inns of Court. 

SIR, I received yours Dated the first of January within a few Daies after the 
Date, which Pious Letter I esteem the kindest Newy ear's- Gift I have re 
ceived thes a 1 many Years. I was at first Surprized with the Length 
thereof, having not, you know, soe much Leisure as Will, particularly to 
Answer long Letters from my friends. But as soon as I had Read a few 
Lines, I found the Subject soe Gratefull to mee, that I did not only Read 
it through once, but perused it a second Time with serious Consideracion, 
and before I laid it out of my Hand, came to a Resolucion, to Comply with 
your Desires in Penning down my poor Reflections, on every one of those 
Heads you Recomend to my Thoughts. It did in an extraordinary 
Manner please mee, to receive soe good a Straine of honest and Pious Zeal, 
from a young Gentleman in the Inns of Court, for our Incomparable 
Liturgy, never the lesse admirable, for being neglected by some and Des 
pised by others. It Relishes methinks more of a Colledge, than of a 
House, Dedicated to the Study of the Law, and you seem much better 
Qualified for a Square Cap, than a Round. Among your Books of Law, 
and other good Authors, wherein I know you Conversant, you have not 
I see forgot your Bible, no nor your Comon Prayer Book neither ; the 
Study of both which, in some measure, is certainly Incumbent on Men of 
all Professions. But I need say little to this Point, your Practice thereof 
shews, that you are fully Convinced in this Particular. I shall therefore 
hasten to the Subject whereto you presse mee, only premising, that I begin 
to bee very much ashamed, (and soe I believe speedily, will bee 2 very 
many of my Brethren too likewise), that the Laicks, both Learned and 
Unlearned, begin now to Reproach us parsons, in outstripping of us in our 
own Trade. But I shall easily absolve them from that Sin, where I dis 
cover soe good Fruit, of their Pains, as I do in your Religious and 
Canonical Letter, and that other Judicious and Devout 3 Piece, by Way 

1 a added above the line. z bee added above the line, 

s Devout altered from good. 


of Advice to the Readers of the Comon prayer, which you mencioned to bee 
lately Publishd, by a well Meaning and Unlearned Laick. The Authour 
whereof, who I am Informed is a Citizen of London, hath seasonably done 
his Part, towards Redeeming the Reputacion of the Citty, as you have 
yours l to restore the Honour of the Temple ; for his Book does assure mee 
hee was no Ignoramus Juryman, nor Tumultuous Petitioner, as your Lines 
do abundantly, that you were not very Conversant last Christmas at the 
Scandalous Disorder of your Revells. [This letter left unfinished in MS.] 

1 yours added above the line. 



As soon as the Restoration was accomplished it was plain that 
the ecclesiology of Laud had secured a complete triumph. The 
aim of the puritan was to have a moveable communion table, on 
tressels, brought out of the vestry for the communion service, and 
set down in some vacant place in the church, the long sides facing 
north and south, while no rails protected it. After 1660 this 
struggle with the puritan is over ; the place of the Holy Table is 
determined to be in the place of the mediaeval altar, with one of 
its long sides against the east wall ; it is covered with a decent 
carpet of silk ; there are often two wax candles upon it ; and it is 
fenced with rails, at which the people no longer hesitate to com 
municate kneeling. King Charles the First and Laud have given 
their lives ; but their cause has won. No considerable section of the 
Church of England has ever gone back to puritan practice, how 
ever poorly the churches may have been kept. 

Accordingly, at the Easter Vestry in 1662, Mr. Evelyn notes 
how they undid the work of the Puritans : 

April 6. Being of the Vestry, in the afternoone we order'd that the 
communion table should be set as usual altar-wise, with a decent raile in 
front, as before the Rebellion. 

This was before the reformed Common Prayer was appointed 
to be read and abjuration of the Solemn League ordered to be made. 
Mr. Evelyn is careful on August 17 of this year to note down that 
his vicars read both. Some fifteen years after, the keeping of 
churches still lacked a good deal. On Sept. 10, 1677 for though 
at Euston he says 

the church is most laudable, most of the Houses of God in this country 
resembling rather stables and thatch'd cottages than temples in which to 
serve the Most High 

yet the foul state brought on by twenty years of neglect, from 



1640 to 1660, could not be rapidly replaced by conditions 
approaching to decency. 

At Idbury "on the brinke of Glocestershire " Antony Wood 
reports in 1674 that 

the church is kept in excellent repaire, being an handsome and well built 
pile. 1 

But this is owing to half a yard-land having been given for the 
repair of the church by some ancient lord of the manor. 

Some of the churches however must have been like Idbury 
or Euston, and well kept, for in 1716 Hearne, not given to over 
much praising, says of Whaddon 

The Church is very neat and handsome. 2 

Those who look over the pages of a New View of London pub 
lished in 1708, or of James Paterson's Pietas Londinensis published 
in 1714, will be convinced that the building after the fire of 1666 
and the upkeep in that decade were as good as possible. At St. 
Mildred Poultry in 1714 Paterson remarks: "The Floor is paved 
with Stone, and the Chancel with Marble," just such a distinction as 
the Cambridge Ecclesiologists would have been pleased to make. 
The same care was seen elsewhere. 

About the same time, [1700] Mr. Nathanael Edmundson, of Man 
chester, woollen draper, gave the marble pavement of the floor within the 
altar rails, which event is recorded on a tablet of timber, placed against a 
pillar at the north-east angle of the aisle, on the south side of the choir, to 
this effect : 

" Ne Altari novis sumptibus exstructo, et modesto ornato Dispar foret 
Pavimentum Marmoreum fieri curavit, Nathanael Edmundson, Lanarius 
Mancuniensis, Anno Domini zyoo." 3 

A new altar had evidently been set up ; and the good soul 
wished to have the floor of the presbytery at least equal in sumptu- 
ousness to the new altar. 

In the visit to Cambridge of Zacharias Conrad von Offenbach, 
he went to Trinity College Chapel, and says : 

The altar is of wood, very massive and well made. Behind it we 

1 Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 
1892, vol. ii. p. 284. 

2 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne^Oxford Historical Society, 1901, vol. 
v. p. 349- 

3 [S. Hibbert,] History of the Foundations in Manchester, London, Pickering, 1834, 
vol. ii. p. 285. 


noticed four very fine pictures, painted on the wall with water colours, re 
presenting Christ, St. John, Mary the Mother, and Mary Magdalene. 1 

From the figures enumerated, it would seem most likely that 
the Crucifixion was the subject of the altar piece. 

The havoc wrought during the great Rebellion in the Welsh 
churches seems to have been enormous, and the recovery exceeding 

Dr. Fleetwood, the Bishop of St. Asaph, seeing apparently the 
shameful state of so many of the churches in Wales in 1710, exhorts 
to a liberal spending of money upon their repairs and decoration. 

Is it not still an Indication of an excellent Devotion, and of a Mind 
that truly honours God, and intends to promote his Service, to lay out 
Money upon such Occasions ? There is nothing draws so near to Super 
stition, as an unreasonable dread of it And anyone may foretel, 

without the Gift of Prophecy, that unless this bountiful good publick Spirit, 
prevail a great deal more among us, and be more encouraged ; an hundred 
Years will bring to the Ground a huge Number both of our Temples and 
our Synagogues. 2 

By Temples does the Bishop mean parish churches? by Syna 
gogues chapels ? 

The continued existence of this foul state in Wales is confirmed 
by a writer a few years after. 

In some, not only the Bells are taken away, but the Towers are de 
molished, and in many others there are scarce any Seats, excepting here 
and there a few ill contriv'd and broken Stools and Benches ; their little 
Windows are without Glass, and darken'd with Boards, Matts, or Lettices ; 
their Roofs decaying, tottering, and leaky ; their Walls green, mouldy, and 
nauseous, and very often without Wash or Plaister, and their Floors ridg'd 
up with noisome Graves without any Pavement, and only cover'd with a few 

Later on he adds : their state 

might well tempt you to think we had lain in the Road of the Turks and 
Saracens, in some of their wild Excursions ; or that we had but very lately 
pass'd the Discipline and Reformation of an Oliverian Army. 3 

Further : During Dr. Johnson's Welsh tour, he makes the fol 
lowing notes at Bodville on August 24, 1774 : 

J J. E. B. Mayor, Cambridge under Queen Anne, ed. M. R. Rhodes, Cambridge 
Antiquarian Society, 1911, p. 125. 

2 William [Fleetwood], Articles of Enquiry . . . at his primary Visitation, no 
place or printer, 1710, p. 58. 

3 Er. Saunders, A View of the State of Religion in the Diocese of St. David's, About 
the Beginning of the i8th Century, London, John Wyat, 1721, ii. p. 17. 


We surveyed the Churches, which are mean, and neglected to a degree 
scarcely imaginable. They have no pavement, and the earth is full of 
holes. The seats are rude benches ; the Altars have no rails. One of them 
has a breach in the roof. 1 

Altogether there seems little improvement in fifty years. 

The state of the churches of England seems to have been worst 
in the north where it borders on Scotland and where it would re 
ceive encouragement in slovenly practice from the presbyterian 
discipline. Dr. Basire writes : " the Archdeaconry of Northumber 
land will take up a whole man to reforme the Parsons [and] to re- 
paire the Churches". 2 In 1665 the chancel of St. Nicholas, the 
great church of Newcastle, let the rain in upon the Aldermen as 
they received the communion. At Ilderton the chancel was 
ruinous, at Ingram the church. 3 In a neighbour diocese, that of 
Carlisle, things were found almost as bad as this at the Visitation 
of Dr. William Nicolson, the Bishop in 1704. At Bridekirk, 
Aug. 25, "The Quire has Rails ; but everything else (in and about 
it) looks very scandalous". 4 Many of the other churches are re 
ported as in much the same state. At Kirk Bampton " the Quire 
is (as most of its Neighbours) long and nasty ; having no ascent in 
it V Again at Kirkbride : " I never yet saw a Church and Chancel 
(out of Scotland) in so scandalous and nasty a Condition ". 6 

At Kirk Bampton it was expected that there should be an 
ascent into the Quire. As late as 1821, there was supposed to be 
symbolism in the ascent : 

I have heard it said, that the going down steps, or descending into the 
main body of the church, and then the floor rising to the chancel and 
altar, was intended as an emblem of our descending into the grave, and 
rising again into the holy place, or heaven. 7 

This is just the explanation which would have delighted the 
ecclesiologists of 1840. 

In France, in the middle of the seventeenth century, the Vener 
able John Eudes reports a state of the churches very like that of 
the Welsh churches. 

1 A Diary of a Journey into North Wales in the year 1774, by Samuel Johnson, 
LL.D. ed. R. Duppa, London, R. Jennings, 1816, p. no. 

2 The Correspondence of John Cosin, Surtees Society, 1872, Vol. LV. part ii. In 
troduction, p. ix. 

3 loc. cit. 

4 Miscellany Accounts of the Diocese of Carlile, . . . by William Nicolson, late 
Bishop, ed. by R. S. Ferguson, London, Bell, 1877, p. 81. 

*ibid. p. 15. G ibid. p. 21. 1 Medicina Clerica, London, Seeley, 1821, p. 5. 


Allez dans les eglises : vous en verrez plusieurs au dehors environnees 
d'ordure et de puanteur ; au dedans tapissees de toiles d'araignees, pavees 
de boue et de poudre ; les vitres et la couverture rompues et ouvertes au 
vent, a la pluie, a la grele et a la neige ; les autels denues d'ornements et 
couverts de poussiere, les pretres offrir le redoutable sacrifice avec des 
aubes et des chasubles toutes dechirees, des corporaux et des purificatoires 
quelquefois si sales qu'ils font mal au coeur ; des calices d'etain et tout 
noirs ; le tres Saint Sacrement dans un ciboire de meme etoffe et dans un 
chetif tabernacle tout couvert et rempli de poudre et d'ordure, sans lampe 
et sans lumiere et sans aucune marque de religion. 1 

William Law speaks in 1726 as if the churches were then well 
kept and likely to attract a connoisseur. Patronus, one of his 

loves the Church of England because of the Stateliness and Beauty of 
its Buildings ; he never comes to the Sacrament, but will go forty Miles to 
see define Altar-piece? 

William Law's favourable testimony should be heeded, for his 
severity is well known. 

The great Dr. Butler delivered a charge to his clergy at his 
first coming into the diocese of Durham in 1751 exhorting them to 
maintain the externals of religion, and amongst these the fabric of 
the church. 

In the present turn of the age, one may observe a wonderful frugality 
in everything which has respect to religion, and extravagance in everything 
else. But amidst the appearances of opulence and improvement in all 
common things, which are now seen in most places, it would be hard to 
find a reason why these monuments of ancient piety should not be pre 
served in their original beauty and magnificence. But in the least opulent 
places they must be preserved in becoming repair ; and everything relating 
to the divine service be, however, decent and clean ; otherwise we shall 
vilify the face of religion whilst we keep it up. 3 

Speaking of our country churches in 1756 a writer who does 
not seem ill-disposed to the Church complains of the state in which 
he finds them. 

1 Jean Eudes, Traite de Vhonneur du aux lieux sacres, in Oeuvres completes, Vannes, 

1906, t. ii. pp. 43, 44. Quoted by Henri Joly, Le Venerable Pere Eudes, Paris, Lecoffre, 

1907, pp. 12, 13. Also see the miserable state in which the civil wars left the French 
churches. (Louis Abelly, La Vie du Venerable Serviteur de Dieu Vincent de Paul, 
Paris, Lambert, 1664, Livre I. ch. i. p. 2.) 

z William Law, A practical Treatise upon Christian Perfection, chap. ix. ed. by J. 
J. Trebeck, Spottiswoode, 1902, p. 226. 

3 Joseph Butler, Charge delivered to the Clergy . . . of Durham, 1751, in Works, 
ed. W. E. Gladstone, Oxford, 1896, vol. ii. p. 408. 


The ruinous condition of some of these edifices gave me great offence 
. . . the church perhaps has no other roof than the ivy that grows over 
it. ... In other churches I have observed, that nothing unseemly or 
ruinous is to be found except in the clergyman. 1 

In the next line he adds something in detail on the decoration 
of the altar : 

the 'squire of the parish, or his ancestors, perhaps, to testify their devo 
tion and leave a lasting monument of their magnificence, have adorned the 
altar piece with the richest crimson velvet, embroidered with vine leaves 
and ears of wheat. 

Dr. George Home, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, gives the fol 
lowing account of a Sunday visit to a country church. 

The church-yard joined to the park. Having surveyed everything 
there, it being sunday, I went into the church ; to which one miserable 
bell, much like a small porridge-pot, called half a dozen people, which 
number comprehended the congregation. The church-yard itself was low 
and wet ; a broken gate the entrance ; a few small wooden tombs and an 
old yew tree the only ornaments. The inside of the church answered the 
outside ; the walls green with damp ; a few broken benches ; with pieces 
of mats, dirty and very ragged ; the stairs to the pulpit half worn away ; 
the communion-table stood upon three legs; the rails worm-eaten, and 
half gone. The Minister of this noble edifice was answerable to it, in 
dress and manners. Having entered the church, he made the best of his 
way to the chancel, where he changed his wig; put on a dirty, iron- 
moulded, ragged surplice ; and after a short angry dialogue with the clerk, 
entered his desk, and began immediately without looking into the book. 
He read as if he had ten other churches to serve that day, at as many 
miles distance from each other. The clerk sang a melancholy solo ; neither 
tune nor words of which I ever heard before. 2 

Beyond all doubt there is before us a grave scandal. But such 
cannot be said to be limited to the eighteenth century. In the last 
decade of the nineteenth century I paid a visit to a church in the 
diocese of Exeter and found it in like wretched state to that des 
cribed by Dr. Home. I made some notes at the time : " General 
appearance of great neglect throughout the church. The sexton 
said that very few people came to the church. The font had the 
drain stopped up, which was covered by an inverted, cracked, and 
mended white ware bowl. There was a screen between the quire 
and nave ; the gates were bolted and buttoned from the nave. 
There was only one pew in the quire and over it were thrown a 

1 Connoisseur, No. 134, Thursday, Aug. 19, 1756, 4th ed. Vol. IV. p. 226. 

2 Olla Podrida, No. 33, Oxford, Rann, 1788, Saturday, October 27, 1787, p. 194. 
On p. vi. the authorship is given to Z, that is, Dr. Home. 


surplice much iron moulded, a scarf, and a bachelor's hood. The 
altar was covered with a red baize cloth which did not come down 
to the ground. There was much green mould about." 

The moral which may be drawn from these two cases of grave 
neglect of the House of God is that the scandal does not arise from 
the age in which they are found but from the character of the 
parson. Given a diligent parson and the evil soon ceases. Early 
in the nineteenth century, in 1815, when a young clergyman first 
came into the parish he found a most neglected church ; but in a 
year or two all had been made decent. 1 

Miss Austen has some regard for the village church : " I told 
him of the church's being so very well worth seeing". 2 She is 
speaking of the church at Kellynch. In Emma, Frank Churchill 
on arriving at Highbury goes to see the church. 3 Sir Walter Scott 
speaks thus of the English Churches of his time : 

It was one of those old-fashioned Gothic parish churches which are 
frequent in England, the most cleanly, decent, and reverential places of 
worship that are, perhaps, anywhere to be found in the Christian world. 4 

But of Scotland he makes Andrew Fairservice say : " the dog 
kennel at Osbaldistone Hall is better than mony a house o' God 
in Scotland ". 5 Bos well tells us of St. Giles, once the cathedral 
church of Edinburgh, that it was in 1773 "shamefully dirty ". 6 

Confirmatory of Sir Walter's opinion of English churches there 
is a letter of Keble's describing a church near Fairford in 1818 as "a 
pattern of neatness". 7 

I think it may be a fair conclusion to draw that, excepting the 
first forty years or so of our period when the influence of the Puri 
tan Rebellion was still felt, especially in the North, the way in 
which a church was kept depended almost wholly upon the parson. 
When he was careful and attended to his duty, the church was 
clean and in good repair. And this is probably true of the whole 
eighteenth century, if not of years later than 1833. 

Csar de Saussure, who was in England in the first half of the 

1 The Christian Guardian, London, Gosnall, 1815, vol. vii. p. 85. 

2 Jane Austen, Persuasion, ch. xiv. 3 Same, Emma, ch. xxiv. 

4 Sir Walter Scott, Heart of Mid Lothian, ch. xxx. published in 1818. 

5 idem, Rob Roy, end of ch. xix. 

6 James Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Aug. 16, 1773. 

7 J. T. Coleridge, A memoir of the Rev. John Keble, third ed. Oxford, Parker, 1870, 
p. 24. 


eighteenth century, has left us a description of the churches at that 
time and of the services in them. His evidence may, it is thought, 
be received, as in other parts of his book he shows a certain acquain 
tance with church matters, and familiarity with ecclesiastical obser 

I have told you that several Roman Catholic ceremonies have been 
preserved, and are in use in the Anglican services at the present time. 
The Book of Common Prayer, which is the liturgy, is almost a missal, if 
you cut off the prayers addressed to the Holy Virgin and to the saints, 
and those for the dead. The priests and choristers all wear long white 
surplices when they celebrate divine service, but the preachers take them 
off before stepping into the pulpit. In the royal chapels, the cathedrals, 
and collegiate churches the services are chanted in a tone resembling that 
used by the Roman Catholics in their services. 

In all the churches the altars are covered with a velvet or damask silk 
cloth ; candlesticks are placed upon them, and pictures are frequently 
hung above as ornaments. Communion is taken kneeling, because this 
attitude is that of humility. The sign of the cross is made only on a 
child's forehead at baptism. Several saints' days are celebrated not to 
invoke the saints, but only as an opportunity for reading those portions 
of the Bible in which their noble acts and lives are described. 1 


Throughout our period there is to be found an undercurrent 
of opposition to seemliness in the surroundings of the worship of 
Almighty God. Puritanism was far from extinct, and throughout 
the age it gives signs of revival every now and then as will be seen 
farther on. But it never becomes dominant as before the Restora 
tion. At the end of the seventeenth century it raised its voice in 
this manner: 

Prejudice. But, pray, what can you say to the Images over your College 
Gates and in other places ; your young Boies painted with Wings at 
their Backs over your Altars ; your Brass Candlesticks ; your Saints painted 
in Glass Windows ? 2 

1 Cesar de Saussure, A Foreign view of England in the reigns of George I. and 
George II. London, Murray, 1902, Letter xiv. p. 318. The description of the Church 
of England services by this layman will bear a very favourable comparison with the in 
accurate report drawn up by Barbaro, Patriarch of Aquileia, of ecclesiastical affairs in 
England in the reign of Edward the Sixth. Even if the original report in the Venetian 
Archives be consulted (see my Ecclesiological Essays, Dela More Press, 1905, p. 244) 
rather than Alberi, matters are not made much better. It is astonishing that any credit 
should still be given to Barbaro's Relazione. 

2 A Dialogue between Mr. Prejudice . . . and Mr. Reason, a Student in the 
University, London, Sawbridge, 1682, p. 6. 


But this sort of attack serves to show that in the twenty years 
after the Restoration much had been done to return to the state of 
affairs before the Rebellion, if not to make an advance upon it. 
The following are early attempts to make things decent about 
the altar. 

The altar at Winchester described below in such glowing terms 
must have been set up immediately after the Restoration, for Dr. 
Morley was Bishop only from 1660 to 1662. 

The Altar is the finest I ever saw in a Protestant Country ; it was made 
of fine carved Wood by Bishop Morley after the Restoration, with a Canopy 
and Curtain of Wood hanging down, with gilt Garlands ; and on each side 
of the Altar run up Vases of Stone, with golden Flames coming out to the 
Roof of the Church. . . . The Communion Rail before the Altar is also a 
neat Piece of carved Work. 1 

On December 7, 1684, Evelyn goes to see the new altar of St. 
James' Piccadilly, for so I take it that the church must be, as it was 
consecrated on July 13 of that year. His gratification at the new 
building is marked, and he must be allowed to be a judge, having 
seen most of the great churches, whether at home or abroad. 

1 went to see the new church at St. James's, elegantly built ; the altar 2 
was especially adorn'd, the white marble inclosure curiously and richly 
carved, the flowers and garlands about the walls by Mr. Gibbons in wood ; 
a pelican with her young at her breast, just over the altar in the carv'd 
compartment and border, invironing the purple velvet fring'd with I. H. S. 
richly embroider'd, and most noble plate were given by Sir R. Geere, to 
the value (as was said) of ^200. There was no altar anywhere in England, 
nor has there ben any abroad, more handsomely adorn'd. 

Concerning the altars and altar pieces in the London churches 
rebuilt after the great fire of 1666 there is abundance of evidence, 
and they must have been as good and handsome as money could 
buy, and the taste of the age directed. It may be noted that 
though the altar piece is almost general in the new City churches if 
we go through the list in Paterson's Pietas Londinensis ; yet the 

1 A journey through England in familiar letters, London, Pemberton, 1722, vol. ii. 
p. 16. 

2 Those who square all their ideas in faith and morals and less important things by 
acts of parliament or what the police allows, may notice that the word altar is used 
twice in our period in acts of parliament, 59 Geo. III. c. 134, s. 6, and 2 & 3 William 
IV. c. 61. The latter enacts that the chapel shall " be subject to the Jurisdiction of 
the Bishop and Archdeacon within whose Diocese and Archdeaconry the Altar of such 
Chapel should be locally situate ". Thus no excuse need be given to persons who hold 
these opinions for the universal use of the word altar by the eighteenth century 


organ is not so. 1 Both altar piece and organ were abhorrent to the 
puritan and their presence in a parish indicates that puritanism was 
at a low ebb therein. 

Pictures representing sacred subjects were very common over 
the altar. The churches which escaped restoration in the nineteenth 
century nearly always have a painting in the centre of the altar 

Altar pieces and the pictures in them being so usual a part of 
the furniture of a church it is hardly possible to enter upon an ac 
count of all. It may be desirable to say somewhat of a few 
particular cases, which have been chosen for their history or the 
minuteness of the description. 

One instance, that of All Hallows Lombard Street in 1708, de 
serves a special mention and quotation of its description : 

The Altar-piece is the most spacious and best carved that I have thus 
far met with : It is of right Wainscot, and consists of 4 Columns with their 
Entablature, all finely Cut with 5 Pediments of the Corinthian Order ; viz. 
a Circular, and above it a Triangular, belonging to the two Nforth] Columns, 
and to the two S[outhwar]d ; the Inter-Columns are the Commandments 
done in Gold Letters upon Black, and the Lord's Prayer and Creed is done 
in Black upon Gold. And in the middle bet [wee] n the Arching parts of 
the Frames for the Commandments, is a Pelican feeding her Young with 
her own Blood (an Emblem of our Saviour) ; and above the Cornish, over 
the Commandments, is a Glory finely painted and adorned, with an Enrich 
ment of Carving, as Flowers, Fruit, 6<r. above all which is a large tri 
angular Pediment and seven Candlesticks, representing the Seven Golden 
Candlesticks we read of in the Revelations; which Altar-piece, I am 
credibly assured, cost not less than 186 /. 

The Communion-Table is finely finnier'd, under is the Holy Lamb on a 
Chalice, and at each of the four feet of the Table is a Dove. 2 

Candlesticks, with sham tapers in them, seven or less in number, 
were a frequent addition to the reredos of the eighteenth century. 
Mr. Birch has figured many of these. 3 They had them also in 
the country churches ; for example, at Bledlow in 1783.* 

At St. Vedast's Foster Lane, built by Sir Christopher Wren, 
but described much later, there was 

The altar-table, supported by four angels, is inclosed by singularly 
elegant railing ; and the altar piece is composed of four Composite pillars 

1 For an account of organs, see below in ch. vi. p. 185. 

2 A New View of London, London, Chiswell, 1708, vol. i. p. 109. 

3 George H. Birch, London Churches of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 
London, B. T. Batsford, 1896, large folio. 

4 See below, in appendix to this chapter, item no. 6, p. 160. 


with an entablature, a circular divided pediment, and an attick terminating 
in another angular, under which is a Glory, inscribed " Glory be to God on 
high." Perhaps there is not another church in England that contains a 
nimbus with so superb a border : it is composed of three Cherubim im 
mersed in clouds, and six winged infants in the highest possible relief, one 
sounding two trumpets, and the remainder sporting with branches of palm. 1 

There was also a "Glory" at St. Michael's Cornhill in 1708. 

On the N. and S. sides of the Altar is a spacious Pieddroit, and another 
on the S. side painted, and a Chalice, Paten, Incense pot, Aaron's budded 
Rod, and the Pot of Manna, etc. painted; and on the Roof over the 
Table, is a Glory appearing in' Clouds, painted and gilt, some of whose 
Rays are about 8 Foot in length. 2 

This " glory" must have been a canopy over the altar, and a 
characteristic piece of work of the artist of the day. Very similar 
constructions may be seen even now in some French churches form 
ing a reredos over the altar, with enormous gilt rays protruding 
from clouds. 

There are three altar pieces that caused much disturbance at the 
time when they were first set up, and two caused such scandal that 
they had to be taken down ; or rather the picture which formed the 
centre had to be removed. These are sufficiently important from 
their notoriety to be described more at length. 

To consider first the altar piece of St. Mary's Whitechapel, which 
conveyed a scandalous personal attack upon an individual. The 
circumstances are these : 

Dr. White Kennett, once a Tory and High Churchman, thought 
it well to reconsider his old opinions and become a Whig. This 
change was not grateful to his former friends ; and, as Hearne tells 
us, he passed with them under the name of Judas. 3 Their resent 
ment went farther; a new altar piece was set up at St. Mary's 
Whitechapel, in which, in the foreground of a representation of the 
Last Supper, White Kennett was depicted as the traitor himself. 

1 James Peller Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1807, vol. iv. p. 

2 1708, vol. ii. p. 420. 

3 Thomas Hearne (Remarks and Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1898, vol. 
iv - P- 377) on July 12, 1714, notes that " Dr. Wellwood + of White Chappell hath pub 
lished a Sermon about Altar Pieces, occasion'd by the Altar Piece there, which the 
Bishop of London ordered to be pulled down. There is a Preface about the pulling it 
down. He reflects upon White Kennett, commonly called Judas." On p. 336 the 
bishop orders it to be altered, but on p. 352 it is taken down. Hearne (vi. 345) is 
accused of calling White Kennett Proteus. Hearne has earlier in his Remarks a fine 
tirade against him (i. 311). 



The portrait was unmistakeable ; the black patch, covering the spot 
where in early life White Kennett had been trefined, was plainly 
visible in the forehead, nearly touching the hair. Naturally this 
indecency was resented by the friends of White Kennett, and the 
Bishop of London, acting through his Chancellor, had the altar 
piece taken down. An engraving may still be seen in the Library 
of the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House ; where the 
representation is rendered still more offensive by the lines under 
neath : 

Falleris, hac qui te pingi sub imagine credis ; 

Non similis Judas est tibi ; poenituit. 1 

That all this should be possible shows how hateful his prin 
ciples were to a large number of the churchmen of his time. 

The next disturbance was at St. Clement Danes in the Strand. 

Thomas Lewis who edited the Scourge^ a Vindication of the 
Church of England, a periodical published in London in 1717, 
managed thereby to draw upon himself the attention of the Whig 
Government. In 1721 he proceeded to compliment the Church 
wardens and vestry of St. Clement Danes for the zeal which they 
showed in improving the beauty of their church ; on their intro 
duction of pictures, as of King Charles the Martyr, which portrait 
was "a solemn ornament to some Churches in this City," and on 
keeping up the old custom of garnishing the church with flowers 
and branches of trees. Yet he complains a little farther on that 

no Images but of Lions and Unicorns must now be the Embellishments 
of our Churches, and the Arms of the Civil Magistrate may stand with 
Applause where the Cross ^ the Arms of a Crucified Saviour, must be de 
faced as Popish and Idolatrous. 2 

As to placing the royal arms in the room of the Crucified 
Saviour it may be noted that it was not peculiar to England : 

The King of France had before visited the Society, and had taken 
down the Image of Christ, which was over the Gate, and caused his own 
Arms to be placed in the Stead. 

The Distich 

Sustulit hinc lesum, posuitque Insignia Regis, 
Impia Gens ; alium non colitilla Deum? 

1 Soc. Antiq. London : London Prospects, fo. 48. 

2 Thomas Lewis, The obligation of Christians to beautify and adorn their Churches, 
London, Hooke, 1721, pp. 26, 21, 23. He had published an essay upon the consecra 
tion of churches, London, Strahan, 1719. 

3 [Thos. Watson,] The Ornaments of Churches, Oxford, 1761, Postscript, p. 2. 


But what part, if any, did this Thomas Lewis have in bringing 
about the hubbub that was caused by the new altar piece at St. 
Clement Danes in the Strand about the year 172 5? It was as 
serted that an angel in white and blue, by the side of St. Caecilia, 
was the portrait of Princess Sobiesky, the wife of the Pretender. 
This picture, supposed to be so disloyal, had been put up over the 
altar ; crowds of irreverent persons came to see it, and the nuisance 
became so great that the Bishop of London, Dr. Edmund Gibson, 
the well-known Church historian, ordered it to be taken away. An 
indignant parishioner writes as follows with all the accurate infor 
mation of his class : 

But never before was any popish Saint put over the Communion 
Table in a Protestant Church. The Last Supper , the Passion, Crucifixion, 
or some other Incidents of our Blessed Saviour's Life, are the general 
Subjects given to Painters on these Occasions ; but to have a Consort of 
Musick &c. (suppose it were not the Pretender's Spouse, and, probably, 
some more of his Family, under the Form of Angels) is the most abrupt 
and foreign that I ever saw or heard of. 

A great many of our Churches have only the Pictures of Moses and 
Aaron, on each side the Commandments. I have nothing to object against 
them, but what I have before assign'd, yet have I often wondered why 
Aaron, who made the Molten Calf, which occasioned the Breaking the 
first two Tables ; Why he, I say, who was the Jewish High-Priest, should 
be placed at a Christian Altar ? l 

The Parishioner writes in the spirit of those who thought that 
the ointment might have been sold for much and given to the poor ; 
for he exclaims against " so sumptuous an altar piece " that cost four 
score pounds. Nowadays the objection to St. Caecilia would not 
have been that she was an inhabitant of old Rome but that there is 
no proof of her existence. But his views seem to be sound in looking 
upon the Last Supper, the Passion, or Crucifixion as most proper for 
an altar piece. 

On June 3, 1907 I went to St. Clement Danes and found the 
picture that caused this dreadful pother hidden away on a back stair 
case. It is an ordinary St. Caecilia with an organ and harp, and angels 
around, one of which was the supposed Jacobite portrait. It is now 
hard to understand how it could be the cause of such a disturbance. 
A real Jacobite would only have been satisfied if the central figure 

1 A letter from a Parishioner of St. Clement Danes to the Right Reverend Father 
in God Edmund Lord Bishop of London occasioned by His Lordship's causing the Picture 
over the Altar to be taken down, London, J. Roberts, 1725, p. 21. 



had been a portrait of Princess Sobiesky ; it would have seemed to 
him disrespectful to have represented her as a mere attendant. 

Neither of the two foregoing cases could be approved by the 
Church authorities ; the first, because it was an injurious attack upon 
a dignified clergyman, whatever may be thought of his tactics ; and 
the second, because a political significance which was very possibly 
not in the mind of the artist, was attached to it by the populace 
who came in herds to stare. But in the third case, as far as 
the evidence goes, the Bishop of London, Dr. Thomas Sherlock, 
stood firm. An altar piece had been set up in the church of St. 
James' Clerkenwell : it was in three compartments, separated by 
Corinthian pilasters ; the Nativity in the centre, the Holy Child in 
the arms of the Virgin Mother, with St. Joseph, and the ox in the 
background ; while Moses and Aaron were in a compartment on 
each hand. 1 It was denounced to the bishop by one Thomas 
Watson, and the usual complaint made of idolatry and superstition. 
The bishop refused to move. Watson printed his complaint in a 
letter to the papers. 2 

At Lincoln's Inn Chapel they had in 1714 

the most curious Painting upon the Glass Windows of both Sides ; 
first, the Patriarchs and Prophets on the north Side ; and the twelve 
Apostles on the three Windows on the south Side. 3 

These appear to have been set up in the seventeenth century ; 
the names of the donors being given. 

But St. Margaret's Westminster saw a greater stir about the 
painted glass in the east window. In 1762 the new window at the 
east end having caused a considerable agitation outside the parish, 
the question of the lawfulness of painted windows was taken before 
the High Court of Delegates ; 4 the prosecutors seemed to have gained 
nothing by their action, for the window was there in 1828 : 5 and, it 
may be believed, still remains, though how much damaged by the 
alterations during Dr. Hensley Henson's incumbency is not known 
to me. The changes made have, perhaps, given delight to the baser 

1 Library of the Society of Antiquaries, London : London Prospects, fo. 47. 

2 Old Whig, Oct. 30, 1735. It is reprinted with the engraving at the Society of 

3 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Downing and Taylor, 1714, p. 136. 

4 Thomas Wilson, The Ornaments of Churches considered, Oxford, 1761. 

5 Thomas Allen, The History . . . of London, London, Cowie and Strange, 1828, 
vol. iv. p. 155. 


sort of the High Church curate, but not to the English antiquary or 

In 1714 it is recorded that the Chapel Royal in the Savoy 

has a fine Chancel, it's beautified with the Portraits of the twelve Apostles 
at large, some painting upon the Glass Windows. 1 

At Bolton in 1750 Dr. Pococke notes a peculiarity in the 
church : 

The altar in the church is sett off from the east wall with a partition 
which makes a vestry behind it, according to the rule in Queen Elizabeth's 
time, that the Communion table should be in the middle of the church. 2 

We may accept the good bishop's statement of fact that a vestry 
had been made under the east wall but hardly agree so readily with 
what he tells us as to the cause. Apparently the altar was still in 
the chancel and not in the middle of the church. 

He notices the same thing at Wellington : 

the altar is at a litle distance from the east end with a partition behind it. 3 

At Worcester in 1792 the thanks of the Dean and Chapter 
were given to Mr. Green for presenting a picture of the descent 
from the cross after Rubens, and for fixing it behind the altar of 
the cathedral at his expense. 4 

At Manchester St. Peter's Church was consecrated on September 
6, 1794, and it is noted that "Over the altar was placed a fine de 
scent from the cross by Annibal Caracci ". 5 

St. Martin Outwich was rebuilt in 1796 and Malcolm describes 
a curiosity in the ritual arrangements : that the pulpit was at the 
west, while the altar was at the usual place, in the east, and of 

The West end of the church has a deep recess. . . ,, The priest's and 
clerk's desks, on the same level, are placed below, and on either side of 
this pulpit, which compels the congregation to turn from the sacred spot 
appropriated to the most solemn offices of our faith. 

The Sacrarium resembles the Western recess in the outline, and the 
cieling ; but the sides are plain. Three steps lead to the altar, which are 

1 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Taylor, 1714, p. 179. 

2 The travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. J. J. Cartwright, Cam- 
den Society, 1888, vol. i. p. 12. 

s ibid. p. 143. 

4 John Noakes, The Monastery and Cathedral of Worcester, Longmans, 1866, p. 

5 S. Hibbert, History of the Foundations in Manchester of Christ's College, London, 
Pickering, 1844, vol. ii. p. 164. 


covered by a rich Wilton carpet. The table is a slab, supported by a plain 
arch, and by caryatide winged boys, whose arms are crossed on their 
breasts. The arch and tablet are an imitation of red marble, spotted with 
white, with a very high polish; but the boys axe painted white, though of 
stone ; the effect, however, is rich. Two dark purple velvet custions lay 
on the table. 1 

Over the altar was a recent picture of the Ascension, but al 
ready on the high road to decay. 

Near the end of our period there is this entry in a parish 
register : 


The Reverend Richard Wallis late Vicar of this Parish, presented a 
drawing in poker >2 by him of the Salvator Mundi, after Carlo Dolce' which 
hangs in the church as an altar piece, according to his wishes and at the 
desire of his three daughters. Seaham 5 July, i827. 3 

This entry may be explained by supposing that the Rev. 
Richard Wallis had during his lifetime placed this poker work over 
the altar ; but at his decease doubts may have arisen of his intention 
to bestow the drawing upon the church, to remove which the con 
sent of his heirs to the gift was attested. 

The material of which the altar is made is of no great import 
ance provided it be handsome and costly. Mr. Micklethwaite has 
said that 

Stone or marble altars of the eighteenth and the first half of the nine 
teenth century are not uncommon. 4 

And this appears to be the case. He adds : 

In 1891 I saw one [a stone altar] in the church of Long Clawson in 
Leicestershire which was curious for its classical affectation. It was only 
3 feet 9 inches long, was of solid stone consisting of a die with a moulded 
plinth and cap after the Roman pagan manner, and it bore in front a 
dedicatory inscription Deo Triuno Optimo Maximo with the date 1738. 
Altars set up in the better sort of churches during the eighteenth century 
had generally marble tops, which were often carried by ironwork fixed into 
the wall or the floor. Examples of this were very common till lately ; but 
now many have been taken away, and amongst them those of the old church, 

1 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1807, vol. iv. p. 410. 

2 N.E.D. defines poker work as "Artistic work done by burning a design on the 
surface of white wood with a heated pointed implement ". 

3 J. S. Burn, The History of Parish Registers in England, sec. ed. London, J. R. 
Smith, 1862, p. 189. 

4 J. T. Micklethwaite, Ornaments of the Rubric, Alcuin Club, 1897, p. 22, note 4. 


now the cathedral, at Wakefield, St. Mary's Church, Beverley, and All 
Saints' Church, Derby. 1 

I cannot, as Mr. Micklethwaite is able to do, appeal to my own 
observation of stone altars in churches spread over the land ; I can 
only report such as I have chanced of late to meet with in print, of 
dates within our period. Some that I do not record may perhaps 
be such as were set up before 1833 ; but where I have had doubts 
of their age, I have passed by such instances. 

In 1703, in the midst of the greatest neglect, if not want of 
decency, Dr. William Nicolson, the Bishop of Carlisle, found more 
than one stone altar during his visitation. At Walton Mr. Dacre, 
the patron, " promises shortly to refit the Altar (of Stone) and rail 
it in ". 2 At Grinsdale he finds church and chancel in ruins : " nothing 
left but a good handsome Stone-Table heretofore used for an 
Altar". 3 

At All Hallows the Great in 1708 : 

The Communion-Table is a large Marble Slab, supported by a Figure 
in Stone of the Angel Gabriel, and its Foot pace is also of Marble. 4 

So of St. Mary Aldermary : 

The Communion-Table is a marble Slab on a carved Frame, resting 
on a Foot pace of that Stone, black and white, inclosed with Rail and 
Banister. 5 

At St. Antholin's 

The Communion-Table (which is a large Marble Slab placed on a 
carved Frame) is inclosed with Rail and Bannister, and the Choir paved 
with black and white Marbles. 6 

At St. Mary Woolnoth 

The altar-piece is enclosed by beautiful scroll-work railing ; and the 
table is of marble, on spiral legs. 7 

At Rotherhithe on February 27, 1723 the vestry ordered that 
the Church-wardens 

do with all expedition (with the consent of Mrs. Baker) change a certain 
Marble Slab (given by Mr. Field) for another, and Fit and make the same 
convenient for a Communion Table. 8 

1 J. T. Micklethwaite, loc. cit. 

2 Miscellany Accounts of the Diocese ofCarlile, ed. R. S. Ferguson, for Cumberland 
and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, 1877, p. 52. 

3 ibid. p. 13. 4 1708, vol. i. p. 106. 
5 1708, vol. ii. p. 365. 6 1708, vol. i. p. 133. 

7 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1807, vol. iv. p. 433. 

8 E. J. Beck, Memorials to serve for a history of the parish of St. Mary, Rotherhithe, 
Cambridge, 1907, p. 254. 


At Farley in the West country Dr. Richard Pococke notes in 1 754 : 

The top of the Communion-table is a piece of fine marble, not well 
polished ; they call it Egyptian, but it seems to be of our pieces of marble, 
which consists of several pebbles cemented together. 1 

The Bishop was a minute observer of all the various kinds of 
marbles, stone, slate, etc. that he met with in his journeys. 

Malcolm in 1803 mentions two churches in London where they 
had the altar of porphyry. 2 

The stone altars in our period seem not to have followed the 
mediaeval precedent of a solid stone erection on the top of which was 
a slab marked by a cross in the places where the bishop had touched 
the stone with the holy cream. They seem to have been frames of 
stone or wood, upon which the stone slab was fixed. A hybrid 
altar, part of stone, part of wood, is not to be commended. An 
altar wholly of stone, or wholly of wood, is worthy of all respect ; 
but a wooden altar with a stone slab, large or small, seems to en 
courage the superstitious opinion that the Eucharist ought only to 
be celebrated on stone. 

Worse perhaps is the encasing of a wooden altar in stone or 
marble and leaving it without a frontal (an ornament that no altar 
should be without) so as to suggest the erroneous belief that the 
whole altar is of stone. 

One of the first authorities upon the history of the Roman cata 
combs has told me that the altars in the catacombs and early 
Roman churches were of wood, and moveable. And the altars of 
stone, set up in the ages when stone was coming into use for altars, 
show clearly that they are copying a table of wood. 


The frontal or altar cloth was one of the first things to be re 
stored on the return of the King. 

The Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. William Fuller, writes to Dr. San- 
croft on Oct. 27, 1662 about a new frontal for the cathedral church. 

I have a greater trouble to give you, which you will receive from my 
Secretary Mr. Symonds 'now in London. It is to buy mee an altarcloth, 
which I would have rich : one pane thereof to be Cloth of Gold, the other 
I thinke Damaske, of a sky colour ; if it bee not too Gawdy. Our Cathedrall 
hath a purple one of cloth paned with crimson Damaske : Mine I intend 

1 The travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. J. J. Cartwright, Cam- 
den Society, 1889, vol. ii. p. 153. 

2 See below, pp. 141, 142. 


for solemne Dayes. The length of our Altar is 7 foote, one yard High, and 
one yard broad. Above the Altar 2 yards to the Cornish. But how the 
Cloth is to be fashiond, that I must leave to you. 1 

Evidently the Bishop intended to have a ferial as well as a 
festival frontal. 

Describing the frontals for the altar at Lichfield Cathedral 
Church in 1668, the Bishop, Dr. Racket, writes: 

In vellet, purple and azure, fiftie pounds worth from the excellent Ladie 
Levison, to serve for a paraphront, a suffront, and carpet for the Altar. 
From my Ladie Bagot, most rich pieces of gold and silke, and exquisite 
imagery for two quishions, whose making up being added from a deuout aged 
widow, and a poore one, Mrs. Hulkes, they are as beautifull as euer I saw. 
Add to these, the most curious piece that I haue seen, of purple vellet, flowry 
gold and silke, to bee placed in the paraphront aboue the quishion. 2 

The altar cloth given by an Archbishop of York, who died in 
1691, deserves to be noticed on account of its colour. 

Thomas Lamplugh D.D. ArchBishop of York, gave to the Church of 
Thwing one larg Silver Cup double gilt with Gold, with a Cover and a 
Chalice of the same, and to both the Cup and Chalice a convenient stifned 
Case of red Leather with Clasps to keep them in. He gave also a very 
good large Cushion for the Pulpit, and a larg Pulpit Cloath lined, both of 
very fine red Velvet and a Carpet of fine Orange coloured Sattin lined 
with Silk for the Communion Table, and a Table Cloath of a very rich 
Damask for the Communion and a fine linnen Cloath to cover the conse 
crated Elements of the same Damask. 3 

Dr. Comber, the Dean of Durham, records in his papers 

that an unknown person sent a noble crimson velvet cloth with rich 
embroidery and gold fringe to adorn the altar of the cathedral. 4 

Queen Mary the Second, between 1689 and 1694, gave to the 
altar of Christchurch Canterbury a frontal of silver stuff and purple 
flowered velvet : 

The altar was furnished with a pane of the figured velvet and a pane of 
gold stuff, flowered with silver, and the Archbishop's throne with plain 
velvet. The figure for both was a ruffled f one, of gold, silver, and purple, 
which alone cost 

1 Bodleian Library, Tanner MS. 44, fo. 42. 

2 ibid. 44, fo. 66. Letter from Dr. Racket to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dec. 
12, 1668. 

3 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1898, vol. 
iv. p. 245. 

4 Memoirs . . . of Thomas Comber, D.D. ed. by Thomas Comber, London, 
Richardson, 1799, p. 288. 

5 G. S. [George Smith], Chronological History of Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, 
1883, p. 330. 


Much about the same time, "in the present age" says the 

Mistress Dorothy Seymour gave to the Parish-Church of Berry- 
Pomeroy aforesaid, a very fair Altar-/%%, with a New Communion-Table, a 
rich Carpet to cover it, carv'd or turrid Rails to enclose it, a large gilded 
Chalice, with other things of Value ; and also new laid the Floor of the 
Chancel throughout with squared Stones. We have another example of a 
like Piety, in Totnes near adjoining ; where Mr. Richard Langdon, Mer 
chant, hath given lately an Hundred Pounds, in double gilt Plate for the 
Communion Service of that Church, and a rich Crimson Velvet Carpet, with 
deep Gold Fringe for the Communion- Table there. The like whereunto 
near to the same Value, was done for the Parish- Church of Dartmouth in 
this County by William Hayne, Esq ; lately deceased. 1 

Nor was this " man millinery," as it is contemptuously called, 
limited to Queens and Bishops and Ladies. 

Here [Trusley, Derbyshire], too, in cases against the wall, are the 
remains of a once beautiful altar-frontal of blue cloth, with the arms and 
initials of William Coke and his wife Catherine Ballidon. . . . This altar- 
cloth was in use up to 1860, when it was removed and carelessly crumpled 
up at the bottom of the parish chest, because the then rector had con 
scientious scruples as to using a frontal with heraldic embellishments. 2 

It was one of the foibles of the ecclesiological movement in the 
nineteenth century to dismiss the use of heraldry as savouring of 
pride. A writer, not too cautious, denounces the squire, "the 
parochial autocrat " ; for 

his armorial bearings (the very essential hieroglyphic of the pomps of 
this world which we renounce at Baptism) displace the emblems of our 
hope and of our faith. 3 

I have heard, on good authority, of a much worse case in the 
twentieth century; where a democratic parson chipped off the 
squire's arms on a fifteenth century font. The squire, I fear from 
good nature, did not, as he ought to have done, put the parson at 
once into the ecclesiastical courts. 

In the eighteenth century, a lady who had undertaken an altar 
cloth for a clergyman's chapel apologises for the colour not being 
green : 

1 John Prince, The beauty of God's House, London, Freeman Collins and Samuel 
Keble, 1701, p. 48. 

2 J. Charles Cox, Athenceurn, 1907, September 28, p. 373. 

3 G. A. Poole, Churches ; their Structure, Arrangement and Decoration, London, 
1845, ch. vii. p. 73. 


October 28, 1 740. I am glad the Chappie is done, and succeeds to your 
mind ... 135 years in your chaple, and I conclude the old green Cloath 
has been so too ... I hope this Crimson won't offend the Doctor Osborn. 
He was a little outragious at the Colour. I unfortunately called it red, 
and that is not so right for a Chaple. Is he reconciled to the Tapistry at 
the Altar ? He is not sure if that does not favour a popish one. 1 

It will be noticed below in the directions for an oratory in Enter 
into thy closet that the colour of the hanging is to be green. 2 


Candlesticks began to be set again on the altar soon after the 

At Christchurch, the Metropolitical Church of the Province of 
Canterbury, they had in 1667 altar candlesticks ; for a charge is 
made for gilding one of them ; and " Candlesticks for the Altar " 
go on as far as the Inventories of the eighteenth century reach. 3 
The charge for two large wax tapers for the Altar was allowed in 
the eighteenth century every winter, and the candles must have been 
lit. 4 The candlesticks were still there in Hasted's time. 5 He pub 
lished in 1799. And indeed they were there at the end of the 
nineteenth century when the materials for the Inventories of Christ- 
church Canterbury were being collected. 

At York two pair of altar candlesticks were given soon after the 
Restoration. One pair by Dr. Sancroft who was Dean of York in 
1664, but the candlesticks were made in 1662 ; and the other pair 
was given by " Lady Mary Beaumont" in 1673. 

These were still in use in 1912 at the high altar and the altar 
in the Lady chapel. 6 

At Chester cathedral two candlesticks were given to the altar in 
I662. 7 

The Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. William Fuller, writing on Oct. 27, 

1 Mrs. Osborn, Political and Social Letters of a Lady of the Eighteenth Century, 
1721-1771, Griffith and Farran, [1890 ?], p. 72. 

2 See below, p. 157. 

3 J. Wickham Legg and W. H. St. John Hope, Inventories of Christchurch Canter 
bury, Constables, 1902, pp. 272, 311, 316. 

4 ibid. p. 313. 

5 Edward Hasted, History . . . of Kent, Canterbury, Simmons and Kirkby, 1799, 
vol. iv. p. 526, note a. 

6 T. M. Fallow and H. B. McCall, Yorkshire Church Plate, Leeds, Yorkshire 
Archaeological Society, 1912, p. 4. 

7 T. Stanley Ball, Church Plate of the City of Chester, Sherratt and Hughes, 1907, 
p. 24. 


1668 to Dr. Sancroft, Dean of St. Paul's, asks him to buy for the 
altar at Lincoln a pair of better candlesticks than what they have : 

They have a pittifull paire of ordinary brasse Candlesticks upon the 
Altar ; which I am ashamed to see and can indure no longer. Therefore 
I will give them a paire of faire Candlesticks. Truly, Deane, my purse is 
empty : and I cannot doe what I would. But I find in the Inventory of 
the Church Utensills, before they were Imbezild, a paire of copper Candle 
sticks guilt. Why may I not give the like : if you approve of it. Then I 
must intreate you to bespeake them, accordingly. I would have them 
great and plaine, and double guilt. Pray inquire what such a paire will 
cost. 1 

A Bishop of Ossory, having been Dean of Christchurch Dublin, 
feared lest any Church money should remain in his hands at his 
death ; and therefore on October 19, 1677 

he bequeathed to the Dean and Chapter thereof, 200!. to buy a pair of 
large Silver Candlesticks gilt, and other Utensils for the Use of the Altar. 2 

There is an interesting receipt given on behalf of the Bishop of 
Durham, by the Dean, for certain pieces of gilt plate lent on loan 
which seemed to have been considered so necessary that the Bishop 
was constrained to borrow them when the plate belonging to the 
Cathedral could not be had. They are these : 

One basan, twoe candle-sticks, twoe flagons, twoe chalaces, and twoe 
pattens. 3 

The paper is not dated but it was most likely written between 
1686 and 1689. 

A Roman Catholic priest, Bassett, writing in 1704 under the 
pretence of being a Minister of the Church of England, and speak 
ing of the furniture of the altar, says : " Yea, we have great Candles 
too". 4 

In 1712 Mrs. Elinor James gave a quantity of plate for use at 
the altar of St. Benedict, Paul's Wharf, and amongst other pieces 
was "a pair of embossed candlesticks and sockets ". 5 To show how 
little negative evidence may be trusted, nothing is said of these by 
James Paterson in I7I4. 6 

1 Bodleian Library, Tanner MS. 44, f. 42. 

z The whole Works of Sir James Ware concerning Ireland, ed. Walter Harris, 
Dublin, Bell and Fleming, 1764, vol. i. p. 428. 

3 Miscellanea, Surtees Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 218. 

4 Essay towards a proposal for Catholick Communion, ch. xvi. quest, ii. 1704. 
5 J. P. Malcolm, Londiniiim Redivivum, 1803, vol. ii. p. 471. 

6 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Taylor, 1714, p. 44. 


Cesar de Saussure in his account of Anglican churches in the 
reigns of King George the First and King George the Second says : 
In all the churches the altars are covered with a velvet or damask 
silk cloth ; candlesticks are placed upon them. 1 

The Ecclesiologist records that at St. Mary's, Bruton, Somerset 
shire the candlesticks are of silver and bear the legend : " The gift 
of Mr. John Gilbert to Bruton Church, 1744". Also seven otner 
instances of candlesticks on the altar ; but it is not said if they 
were the gift of persons within our period. 2 

Messrs. J. Charles Cox and Alfred Harvey give a number of 
instances of altar candlesticks now in use in English parish 
churches. I will only mention those which have the hall mark of a 
post-restoration year, and which, in some likelihood, were acquired 
by the church after that year. During our period there are : Buck- 
land, Surrey, 1691 ; Harthill, Yorkshire, 1675 ; Hatton, Warwick 
shire, 1683; St. Augustine, Norwich, temp. Carol. II.; Moseley, 
Leicestershire, 1662 ; St. Anne's Soho, 1722 ; Swithland, Leicester 
shire, 1701 ; St. Mary's Shrewsbury given between 1716 and 1727 
by Lady Abigail Yeomans "for the use of the Communion ". 3 

In 1786 two pair of altar candlesticks were stolen from Magdalen 
College Chapel, Oxford. In the following year a pair was presented 
by the President, Dr. George Home, to replace those stolen. 4 

In truth, candlesticks on the altar must have been so usual that 
this fact was brought in as a support to the contention that painted 
windows and pictures must also be allowed. 

Whoever brings the Authority of Q. Elizabeth's Injunctions and 
Homilies against the Window in St. Margaret 's, will first remove Candle 
sticks from the Altars in Cathedrals ; not that the Editor of these Papers 
has the least Objection to their standing there, or on the Altars in any paro 
chial Church. 5 

Malcolm in 1 803 mentions " two remarkably handsome candle 
sticks" on the altar at All Hallows Barking. 6 Also at St. Bar 
tholomew Broad Street or Exchange, " the table is of porphyry, 

1 See above, in this chapter, p. 126. 

2 Ecclesiologist, Cambridge, Stevenson, 1844, vol. iii. p. 160. 

3 J. Charles Cox and Alfred Harvey, English Church Furniture, Methuen, about 
1907, p. 326. 

4 J. R. Bloxam, Register of the Presidents . . . of St. Mary Magdalen College, 
Oxford, Parker, 1857, vol. ii. pp. clxxxiv-clxxxv. 

5 [Thomas Wilson, Prebendary of Westminster,] The Ornaments of Churches con 
sidered, Oxford, Jackson, 1761, p. 134, n. 

6 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, 1803, vol. ii. p. 421. 


with a step for candlesticks of the same material, supported by richly 
carved and gilt feet ". 1 At St. Clement Danes they had also the 
table of porphyry with " two steps for candlesticks on it 'V 2 At 
St. Botolph Aldersgate the Holy Table " supports two rich candle 
sticks". 3 

In a will made on November 19, 1831 Mrs. Quilliam directs as 
follows : 

I leave to the chaplains and wardens (for the time being) of St. Mary's 
Chapel in Castletown aforesaid my two best silver chased Candlesticks to 
and for the use of the said Chapel for ever and to be placed therein on the 
Communion Table. 4 

Their height is lof inches. Mrs. Quilliam also bequeathed 
another pair exactly similar and of the same date (1770-71) to the 
chapel of King William's College. It is an excellent example, 
much to be commended, of the conversion of good domestic ma 
terials to church uses. 

No instance in our period has been met with of more than two 
lights on the altar. Thus the mediaeval custom of two lights only 
was carefully preserved until our time of decadence in the nineteenth 
century, when six large candles, or little candles in drawing room 
sconces began to be set on the altar. 

When I was at Exeter in April 1 894, I was told by a responsible 
officer of the chapter library with a certain amount of distress, that 
things were so low before the present dean was appointed that the 
altar candlesticks were only put on for a celebration of the Eucharist, 
and taken off directly after. I do not know who the dean was in 
1 894, but if what I was told prove exact, he certainly destroyed a 
very ancient and desirable custom. It was a survival of a distant 
time when there were no candles on the altar but carried only in the 
hands of the clerks ; brought in by them, and taken away by them 
as soon as the service was over. Doubtless the change at Exeter 
was made with intention of promoting the cause of progress and de- 
velopement, and credit should be given for good intentions, even if 
not altogether successful. 

Something similar, it may be inferred, is spoken of by Hasted 
as happening at Canterbury ; the candlesticks were set upon the 

1 J. P. Malcolm, Londiniunt Redivivum, London, 1803, v l- P- 4 2 ^ 
z ibid. vol. iii. p. 395. 3 ibid. vol. ii. p. 550. 

4 E. Alfred Jones, The old Church Plate of the Isle of Man, London, Bemrose, 
1907, p. 28. 


altar with the other plate when there was a celebration of the 
Eucharist. 1 Another instance of a like practice, and in a parish 
church, was put on record in pleadings before the ecclesiastical courts 
about 1855. At Ham in Staffordshire where they had daily service 
in 1715,2 

The Candlesticks are here put on the Altar on days when Holy Com 
munion is administered ; an ancient custom. The former Incumbent, who 
held the living 50 years, found the custom, and retained it. 3 

The opinion that two candlesticks on the altar were customary 
and lawful appears quite at the end of our period. 

Among other ornaments of the Church in use, in the 2d year of Edward 
VI. there were two Lights appointed to be set upon the high Altar, as a 
significant ceremony of the light which Christ's Gospel brought into the 
world ; . . . These lights were continued in all the Queen's Chapels dur 
ing her whole reign ; and in many Cathedral Churches, besides the Chapels 
of divers noblemen, Bishops, and Colleges to this day. 4 

In the last sentence it may be supposed that the author speaks 
of his own personal knowledge, and so with the authority of a con 
temporary witness. 

In 1892 Dr. Porter, the Master of Peterhouse, showed me the 
arrangements in his chapel which were most likely those made at 
the Restoration after the havoc that was wrought by William 
Dowsing during the Rebellion, 5 who would not have suffered 
altar rails to remain ; and thus the present rails are almost 
sure to be post-Restoration. There were no candlesticks on the 
altar; but the western angles of the rectangular rails enclosing 
the altar carried two round wooden tables on tripods, on which 
stood the two candlesticks with prickets. The Master assured me 
that, within his time, the candles had always been in that particular 

A similar arrangement may very likely have existed at Clare, 

1 Edward Hasted, History . . . of Kent, Canterbury, Simmons and Kirkby, 1799, 
vol. iv. p. 526. 

2 See above in ch. iv. p. 98. 

3 The Judgment of the Right Hon. Stephen Lushington . . . Westerton against 
Liddell, edited by A. F. Bayford, London, Butterworths, about 1855, p. xxvi, Schedule 
No. 2. 

4 Thomas Pruen, Illustration of the Liturgy of the Church of England as to its 
daily service, London, Rivington, 1820, vol. i. p. 206. 

5 J. Wickham Legg, English Orders for consecrating churches in the seventeenth cen 
tury, Henry Bradshaw Society, 1911, p. 350. 


but the old order of things had been changed in the nineteenth 


Branches with candles hung from the ceiling were very frequent 
in cathedral and parish churches, but they appear to have been 
brought in merely for decoration, or perhaps for giving light, with 
out any ritual purpose. They were disliked by the puritans be 
cause they gave dignity and beauty to the house of God. In 1714 
according to James Paterson's Pietas Londinensis there were sixteen 
churches in London furnished with branches, but it is quite possible 
this may be an underestimate. 

If one turns over the pages of the later editions, published in 
the eighteenth century, of Stow's Survey one may often notice the 
appearance of branches as part of the ornaments of London churches. 

At the Collegiate Church of Manchester, the foundation of King 
Charles the Martyr in 1635, we are told that 

Suspended from the chancel roof, are two brass candelabras, each con 
taining twelve branches ; on the one is inscribed, " The Original Gift of 
Chadwick, A.D. 1696. Renewed By the Warden and Fellows, A.D. 
1768: " and on the other, "The Gift of Jeremiah Bower, Manchester, 
Haberdasher of Hats, September 29, 1745." x 

These branches are still filled with candles and lighted during 
the Twelve Days of Christmas. 2 

On Feb. 17, Sunday, 1722-3 Hearne writes : 

About a Month or six Weeks since was put up in St. Peter's Church, 
in the East, Oxon. a very handsome Branch for Lights. And much about 
the same time were renewed the Images of St. Peter and St. Paul over the 
Porch Door of the same Church. 8 

Three branches had been presented at different times during 
our period to Christchurch Canterbury by Sir Anthony Aucher, 
Dr. Shuckford, and Dr. Tenison. 4 

At Clinok in Wales, Dr. Richard Pococke, an Irish bishop, 
observed in 1756 : 

1 [S. Hibbert,] History of the Foundations in Manchester, London, Pickering, 1834, 
vol. ii. p. 285. For statutes of King Charles, see vol. i. p. 152. 

2 See below, ch. vii. p. 209. 

3 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1907, vol. 
viii. p. 46. 

4 J. Wickham Legg andW. H. St. John Hope, Inventories of Christchurch Canter 
bury, Westminster, Constables, 1902, p. 327. 


The ancient rood-loft is standing, and they have a wooden branch to 
illuminate their church at their early devotions on Christinas day, which is 
a custom that prevails in most parts of North Wales. 1 

It is recorded of Dr. George Berkeley, the son of the celebrated 
Bishop, that he laid out the money received by him for temporary 
duty in " purchasing some ornament for the house of God ; such 
as an handsome altar cloth, chandeliers, &c." 2 


Dr. Tenison, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, in a weighty 
passage, recommends the use of devotional pictures, and of the 
Cross. His remarks are the more noticeable because of the favour 
which he showed to Protestant Dissenters. 

And yet to say with men who run into extremes, that Devotional 
Pictures are no helps to excite memory and passion, is to forget that they 
are called mute Poems ; to speak against common sense ; and to impute 
less to a Crucifix than to the Tomb of our friend, or to a thread on our 
finger. They may be useful as Monitors in a Christian Commonwealth 
where their worship is plainly and frequently forbidden, and by all under 
stood to be so prohibited. And it was high superstition in those who in 
our late unhappy Revolutions, defaced such Pictures and brake down such 
Crosses as Authority had suffered to remain entire, whilst it forbad the 
worship of them ; and was in that particular so well obeyed that none of 
them (it may be) ever knew one man of the Communion of the Church of 
England to have been prostrate before a Cross, and in that posture to have 
spoken to it. 3 

Such a testimony in favour of the use of pictures and crosses 
from a man of the studied moderation of Tenison is not to be put 
aside. But an immense amount of Puritan prejudice had yet to be 
overcome. A painted window over the altar, a picture serving as 
a reredos, or even a plain cross might in the eighteenth century give 
rise to much ill-will. 

Dr. Fiddes, a writer of some reputation in his time but now 
almost forgotten, doubted if all external acts of reverence towards 
an image be forbidden by the second commandment : 

it is not thought altogether so clear from any principles of natural 
reason whether such outward acts of reverence be of themselves directly 

1 The Travels through England of Dr. Richard Pocockc, ed. J. J. Cartwright, 
Camden Society, 1889, vol. ii. p. 175. 

2 George Berkeley, Sermons, London, Rivington, 1799, p. 150, note. 

3 Thomas Tenison, Of Idolatry, London, Tyton, 1678, ch. xii. p. 279. 



sinful : Provided they terminate in the object represented by those images, 
and that such object be in itself really adorable. 1 

Dr. Fiddes died in 1725. His works were much read by Dr. 

Ten years after the Restoration Thomas Philipot published a 
work in which he remarks : 

So the sign of the Cross was put upon the Churches, to make it 
known they were mark'd out and distinguish'd for God's service. 2 

It would be hardly worth mentioning that Dr. Joseph Butler, 
afterwards Bishop of Durham, the immortal author of the Analogy, 
had a cross over the altar in his episcopal chapel at Bristol, had not 
this led to the statement that he died a papist. 3 It cannot have 
been that the use of the cross in connexion with churches was un 
known. Dr. Seeker, Archbishop of Canterbury, affirms that "most 
of our churches have crosses upon them ". 4 Even a crucifix was 
recommended by William Law. 5 

In the Isle of Man, Kirk Andreas has a chalice made about 
1685 with a crucifix engraved on it. Under it is: Andreas Cristif 
famulus. 6 The fop's chapel, to be spoken of below, had "many 
crucifixes in it". 7 

Miss Austen speaks of a cross being given to a young lady to 
wear round her neck. 8 

Malcolm who wrote in the first decade of the nineteenth century 
may be appealed to for his evidence of the large number of pictures 
then existing in London churches. 9 And in the country, nothing is 
more common than to find some sacred subject depicted in the parish 

1 Richard Fiddes, Theologia Practica; or, the Second Part of a body of Divinity, 
London, Bernard Lintot, 1720, Book III. ch. iii. p. 245. 

2 Thomas Philipot, Antiquitas Theologica et Gentilis, London, Needham, 1670, 
p. n. 

3 An account of this strange accusation, not made until fifteen years after Butler's 
death, and the immediate contradiction by the Bishop's closest friends, is given by Dr. 
Samuel Halifax, Bishop of Gloucester, in the notes to a preface to his second edition 
of Butler's works. (Works, Oxford University Press, 1836, vol. i. pp. xxxiii-xxxvii.) 

4 ibid. p. xxxv. 

5 William Law, A Serious Call to a devout and holy life, ch. xvi. London, Innys 
and Richardson, 1753, p. 301. 

6 E. Alfred Jones, The old church Plate of the Isle of Man, London, Bemrose, 
1907, Plate VIII, No. i. 

7 See below, p. 159, oh Oratories. 

8 Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ch. xxvi. (Macmillan, 1901, p. 228). 

9 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1802-7, i f ur volumes. 


churches. Samuel Wale, an artist of note, was almost a specialist 
for church paintings. 1 


One of the great sources of irritation to the early ecclesiologists 
was the practice of setting a chair at each end of the altar, the oc 
cupants of which faced the people. The early Gothic architects de 
nounced this practice and made a great point of placing the seats 
for the clergy in the presbytery on the south side only. But the 
older designers had some precedent for what they did. There are 
Italian churches which show chairs at the ends of the altar facing 
the people, as at the cathedral churches of Sienna and Salerno. The 
cathedral church of Naples has a seat at the south, or in more modern 
language the epistle, end of the high altar, on which during the reading 
of the lessons of Easter Even the celebrant sits. In our own West 
minster Abbey there is shown a like seat in the Islip Roll. 2 Dr. 
Eager has also seen a seat in much the same place at Barcelona, and 
elsewhere in Spain, and a clerk sitting upon it. 3 

The explanation of these varying positions of seats in the 
presbytery is that early in history when most churches had apses, 
and the altar stood on the chord of the apse, the seats for the clergy 
ran all round the wall of the apse ; and the sedilia are but the re 
mains of the most western of these, and the seats facing the people 
the remains of those behind the altar. 

The old three-decker, as it was irreverently called, of pulpit, 
reading desk, and clerk's desk, was not a post-reformation invention. 
There is just such an erection on the north side of the quire of St. 
Mark's Venice, clearly mediaeval in date. 

In 1821, a clergyman thus describes the state of his chancel : 

When I came to my present parish, I found the chancel without any 
rails at the east end round a communion table and the table standing in 
the middle of the chancel. On inquiry, I found that the practice here 
was, for all the communicants, at the time of a sacrament, to come into the 
chancel, which is large, and has seats on each side of the entrance at the 
west end, and which are continued towards half way on each side. . . . Be 
fore the seats is a front, or desk, to kneel and lean against. The table 

1 D.N.B. under Samuel Wale. 

2 The Obituary Roll of John Islip, published by the Society oi Antiquaries of London, 
Vetusta Monumenta, Vol. VII. part iv. plate xxii. 1906. 

3 Reginald Eager, Transactions of the St. Paul's Ecclesiological Society, Harrisons, 
1900, vol. iv. p. 113. 


stands so that the minister can see all the communicants before him ; and, 
when he administers the bread and wine, instead of their coming up to the 
table he goes round to them. 1 

A London Curate at the beginning of the nineteenth century sets 
forth his views in the following very interesting way : 

Then respecting the interior of our churches ; there is no need to make 
alterations for alteration's sake. Our ancestors, and their architects, were 
very good judges of the proper arrangement of parts in the inside of churches. 
It shall rarely happen that any good comes of moving the pulpit, desk, &c. 
Least of all should they be placed in the middle aysle. The ALTAR, most 
certainly, should ever be regarded as the sanctum sanctorum of a Christian 
Church. Nothing should shut it out from the perspective of the building. 
It should occupy the main point of light. Of late years, (is it because preaching 
is preferred to praying ; nay to the solemnization of the most sacred Christian 
Mysteries ?) the pulpit obstructs the view of the altar in many newly repaired 
churches. In ancient churches, the pulpit is found on the north side of the 
church, near the entrance of the chancel. In most of the fifty new churches, 
in and about London, the pulpit and desk stand one on one side, and the 
other on the other side of the middle aysle. But in churches which have 
lately been improved, both pulpit and desk are placed, indecently, before the 

Altar, 1 am sorry to observe, that the pulpit in St. Paul's Cathedral has 

been moved from the spot where it was placed by Sir Christopher Wren. 
It is now fixed, in the new fangled way, directly in the center, and com 
pletely blotting out all view of the Altar from the entrance of the choir. 
But this is not all. The litany desk keeps its old position where the Priests 
recite that impassioned, and very impressive part of our public service, the 
litany, between the porch and the altar,* but when the officiating ministers 
kneel at "the failed stool," (as it was anciently called,) they cannot see the 
Altar / Their faces are within a few feet of the pulpit, which directly fronts 
them. 2 

* No doubt the litany was ordered to be said in this place, because of Joel ii. 17. 
" Let the Priests, the Ministers of the Lord, weep between the Porch and the Altar, 
and let them say spare thy people, O Lord, &c." 

This expostulation might have been written by one of the early 
Cambridge Camden Ecclesiologists. It shows, with them, the sense 
that the altar is the chief feature and ornament of a church, not to be 
obscured or overshadowed by the pulpit, a fashion that had set in 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century. We may see in this 
the influence of the evangelical movement. The Rev. Dr. B. J. 
Kidd has pointed out to me that this making of the pulpit the 
central point of a church is an unconscious following of the Manichees. 

l Medicina Clerica, London, Seeley, 1821, p. 56. 

2 A letter signed A London Curate, in The Orthodox Churchman's Magazine and 
Revitw, London, 1804, vol. vi. p. 297. 


They dressed up a pulpit in the middle of a church, and then wor 
shipped before it. 1 


Another ornament may be noticed, the litany desk or litany 
stool, of which, strange to say, it has been said that it was in the 
eighteenth century a great rarity. As a matter of fact, such were 
in use in most cathedral churches, such as Canterbury, Durham, and 
Lincoln, besides St. Paul's ; and in parish churches, too : at St. 
Giles', Durham, in 1683 the churchwardens paid money " for colour 
ing the Litany Desk," sure sign that it was in use. 2 

The editions of Sparrow's Rationale published in the seventeenth 
century have a frontispiece showing a priest in a short surplice kneel 
ing at a desk in front of the altar, saying " Spare thy people O 
Lord ". Also in several other frontispieces of devotional books 
printed in the first half of our period, the same may be seen. At 
Bledlow in 1783 they had apparently just bought a Litany Desk, 
for the carriage is included in the accounts. 3 

It may be also noticed that the Priests who sing the Litany are 
spoken of in the plural. Most of the Litany Desks of the eighteenth 
century are for two Clerks ; and indeed at St. Paul's the statutes 
require the Litany to be sung by two minor canons. 4 But the 
anomia of the last half of the nineteenth century has caused the 
practice to be abandoned. 


After the Restoration they began again to build screens. A 
very beautiful chancel screen of the Corinthian Order was put up at 
Cruwys-Morchard, North Devon, at a time which Mr. Bligh Bond, 
with good reason, calls Hanoverian. Even as late as 1808 at Mol- 

1 quae causa esset quod Pa&cha Domini plerumque nulla, interdum a paucis tepid- 
issima celebritate frequentaretur, nullis vigiliis, nullo prolixiore jejunio indicto Auditori- 
bus, nullo denique festiviore apparatu ; cum vestrum bema, id est, diem quo Manichaeus 
occisus est, quinque gradibus instructo tribunali et pretiosis linteis adornato, ac in 
promptu posito et objecto adorantibus, magnis honoribus prosequamini : hoc ergo cum 
quaererem, respondebatur ejus diem passionis celebrandum esse qui vere passus esset. 
(St. Augustine, Contra Epistolam Manichaei, cap. viii. Migne, P.L. xlii. 179.) 

2 Memorials of St. Giles's, Durham, Surtees Society, 1896, vol. xcv. p. 188. 

3 See Appendix to this chapter, Bledlow Inventory, item 27, p. 161. 

4 W. Sparrow Simpson, Registrum Statutorum et Consuetitdinum Eccles. Cathed. 
Sancti Pauli Land, London, Nichols, 1873, p. 282. 


land North Devon they set up a chancel screen with a tympanum 
over it. 1 

At Clinok in 1756 Dr. Richard Pococke, the Irish bishop, notes : 

The reading desk is within the skreen, and the minister comes out to 
an elevated seat in the body of the church to read the lesson. 2 

The service was thus said within the chancel. Did the parish 
clerk read the other lesson ? 


It may be noted below 3 that at West Wickham the sexes were 
separated. This was not so unusual. There is evidence of it in 
1698 at St. James' Chapel, in the time of William the Third. 

On Sunday last a rifle-barrelled pistol, loaded with balls, was found in 
St. James's Chapel, after the king of England had left, and it was ob 
served that there had been two strange-looking men present who, contrary 
to the usual custom, had seated themselves among the ladies. 4 

And almost at the same date, Sir George Wheler speaks of the 
separation of the sexes as being a custom in his day : 

the promiscuous mixture of Men and Women together in our Assem 
blies, is an Abuse crept in, not meant by our first Reformers, as is manifest 
from the first C.P. Book of Edw. VI. and the Order in many Country 
Churches to this day. 5 

And earlier than this, in 1689 the same Sir George Wheler 

I believe this Division of Sex was formerly in our Churches : For in 
many Country Churches (where the Grandees have not deformed them, 
by making some High and some Low, to be Tenements to their whole 
Families) is yet to be seen not only Dextra et sinistra Pars virorum ; but 
also the Right and Left hand Seats for the Women. The Seats for the 
Men being next to the Chancel, and the Seats for the Women next from 
the Middle-Doors to the Belfery ; with an Alley up to the Middle of the 
Church ; and another Cross that to the North and South Doors. 6 

1 F. Bligh Bond, Mediaeval Screens and Rood-lofts (Transactions of the St. PaiiVs 
Ecclesiological Society), Harrison, 1905, vol. v. p. 217. 

2 The Travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. J. J. Cartwright, 
Camden Society, 1889, vol. ii. p. 175. 

3 See below in this chapter, p. 153. 

4 Tallard to Louis the Fourteenth, London, April 16, 1698. (P. Grimblot, Letters 
of William III. and Louis XIV. London, Longmans, 1848, vol. i. p. 383.) 

5 [George Wheler,] The Protestant Monastery, 1698, p. 100. 

6 George Wheler, An account of the Churches . . . of the Primitive Christians, 
London, Clavell, 1689, p. 119. 



The destruction of the city of London by fire in 1666 led, 
necessarily, to a large amount of Church building in which Sir 
Christopher Wren was most happily the chief actor. But this may 
be thought not altogether voluntary. In 1711, Card well reports 
that Convocation originated the idea of building fifty new churches 
in the cities of London and Westminster, 1 part of which scheme 
was later on carried into effect. 

A large number of churches, one in every parish, had been be 
queathed to the eighteenth century by the middle ages, and until 
the population began to increase there was no great need for new 
buildings, and it was somewhat late in our period when the want 
of new churches became urgent outside London. I have com 
piled a list, imperfect no doubt, of churches and chapels consecrated 
in the seventeenth century: of those from 1660 to 1700, putting 
aside domestic and college chapels, there appear to be only ten 
churches and chapels consecrated for public use. 2 

Convocation certainly looked for an increase in church building ; 
for just before it was silenced it drew up a form for consecrating 
churches and churchyards. This was published it would seem in 

I7I5- 3 

When the era of the great Church building caused by the " late 
dreadful fire " was over, Churchmen did not relapse into indiffer 
ence as to their churches. There are two churches built in the first 
half of the eighteenth century which are still among the glories of 
London. One is St. Martin's in the Fields, the other is St. Mary 
le Strand. And the men of the time were not niggardly, as may be 
seen by the sums expended in building these new churches, equi 
valent nowadays to more than double the amount. 

The first stone of the new Church of St. Martin's in the Fields 
was laid in 1722. 

The expence attending the re-building amounted to 36,891!. IDS. 4d. 
of which sum 33,450!. was raised under an Act of Parliament, by rates on 
landlords of four fifths, and one fifth on tenants. 4 

1 Edw. Cardwell, Synodalia, Oxford, 1842, vol. ii. p. 827, note. 

2 English Orders for Consecrating Churches in the Seventeenth Century, Henry 
Bradshaw Society, 1911, p. 323. 

3 Cardwell, op. cit. ii. 819. 

4 J. P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1807, vol. iv. p. 194. 


On St. Mary le Strand which was consecrated on January i, 
1723 was expended 1 6,341 is. 2d. 1 

Another sign of a good feeling in Architecture in the middle of 
the eighteenth century is given by All Saints, Derby. The church 
needed to be rebuilt ; and the parishioners employed the 
famous architect, James Gibbs, who designed St. Mary le Strand, 
St. Martin's in the Fields, the Radcliffe Library at Oxford, and other 
well-known buildings. A stone altar, and handsome screens of iron 
work testified until 1873 to h* 8 taste as well as to his knowledge; 
but these, if they have not disappeared entirely, have been shame 
fully mutilated by a clerical obscurantist. 2 

Of the church at Derby, Gibbs thus speaks : 

The Church of Allhallows in Derby is a very large Fabrick, join'd to a 
fine Gothick Steeple. It is the more beautiful for having no Galleries, 
which, as well as Pews, clog up and spoil the Inside of Churches, and take 
away from that right Proportion which they otherwise would have, and 
are only justifiable as they are necessary. The plainness of this Building 
makes it less expensive, and renders it more suitable to the old Steeple. 
I have given two Plates of it. 3 

In fact there are three, plates 25, 26, 27, as one may be pleased 
to note, being given more than promised. 

In the middle of the eighteenth century there may be found a 
preference for the old Christian architecture in place of that of the 
Renascence. A journal tells us that 

In St. Peter's one is convinced that it was built by great Princes : in 
Westminster- Abbey one thinks not of the builder; the religion of the 
place makes the first impression. 4 

This is not the only passage in writings of the eighteenth cen 
tury in which a preference for the Gothic is expressed. 

About 1752, Horace Walpole scoffs in this fashion at a new 
church built by Lord Westmoreland at Mereworth : 

The earl has built a new church. . . . The greatest absurdity is a 
Doric frieze, between the triglyphs of which is the Jehovah, the I. H. S. 

J J. P. Malcolm. Londinium Redivivum, London, Nichols, 1807, vol. iv. p. 281. 

2 J. Charles Cox and W. H. St. John Hope, The Chronicles of the Collegiate 
Church or Free Chapel of All Saints, Derby, London, Bemrose, 1881, plate ii. p. 
227. See p. 8r for some account of the destruction in 1873. 

8 James Gibbs, A book of Architecture, London, 1728, p. viii. 

4 The London Register, March, 1762, p. 209. 


and the dove . . . There is an entire window of painted-glass arms, chiefly 
modern in the chapel, and another over the high altar. 1 

Here is an account of the cost and trouble taken to beautify 
the church at Hagley about 1756 : 

Sir George Lyttelton hasadorn'd the church in a most exquisite Gothic 
taste, Mr. Miller's design. The chancel is entirely new ; the windows are 
adorn'd on the sides and every part with Gothic ornaments in hewn stone, 
and all the other parts of it is in stucco. . . . These [coats of arms] were 
all done at the expence of the Dean of Exeter, who has also given a Persian 
carpet as a covering for the communion table. The east window is entirely 
of rich painted glass ... the Communion rail is of a Gothic design. 2 

A new church was built in Wolverhampton by Act of Parliament : 

It was consecrated in 1761 and is dedicated to St. John. . . . The 
whole is handsomely pewed and painted ; and the altar-piece, our Saviour 
taken down from the cross, the work of a native genius, Mr. Joseph 
Barney, now drawing master of the royal academy at Woolwich. 3 

This single instance suffices to dispose of the statement that not 
one new church was built in England after the reign of King George 
the Third had begun. Other cases will now be given, and the list 
is by no means exhausted. Some writers seem to feel a sort of 
satisfaction in inventing statements to the discredit of the eighteenth 
century. Another new church, very handsome, is thus described : 

The new church of West Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire was opened, on 
an eminence two miles in height, where the old church stood. The pave 
ment is Mosaic, and the roof stucco, ornamented with emblematic figures. 
There are no pews, but seats covered with green cloth, and hassocks to 
kneel on. The men sit on one side, and the women on the other. The 
pulpit is built by itself, in which is a large spread eagle, standing on a ball, 
both made of brass, and finely gilt. The reading desk, and the desk for 
the clerk, both stand separate from each other. In the center of the 
church stands a font of inimitable workmanship ; four carved doves seem to 
be drinking out of it, one dove appears going up by the side, and a serpent 
following it ; and the bason where the water is kept, with the cover to it is 
of solid gold. Near the altar is a fine picture representing our Blessed 
Saviour at his last Supper. 4 

1 Horace Walpole, Works, Robinson, 1798, vol. v. Letters to R. Bentley, Aug. 5, 
1752, p. 268. 

2 The travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. by J. J. Cartwright, 
Camden Society, 1889, vol. ii. p. 235. 

3 Stebbing Shaw, The history and antiquities of Staffordshire, London, Nichols, 
1801, vol. ii. p. 164. 

4 Gentleman's Magazine, Historical Chronicle, July, 1763, p. 359. 


All Saints' Chapel, Lansdown Place, Bath, was built in 1794. 
It is thus described : 

It is in the Gothick stile, and is 64 feet long by 46 wide, within the 
walls, exclusive of four recesses, with a fireplace in each. The gallery con 
tinues all round the chapel, the front of which forms an oval, and is sup 
ported by eight light Gothick pillars, which support also the roof. The 
middle part of the ceiling is also an oval, and rises 6 feet higher than the 
ceiling over the gallery ; is enriched with stucco ornaments and cove ribs 
springing fan shape from each column. There are 12 large windows above 
the gallery, in the tops of which are paintings on glass of the heads of the 
Twelve Apostles, set round with variegated glass; the window of the 
altar has a transparent painting of the Lord's Supper. 1 


This absence of pews at West Wickham 2 led to a sort of prema 
ture Free and Open Church movement : 

Lord Le Dispenser has lately shewn an excellent Example in this Re 
spect, in the new Church of West Wickham, Bucks, which is worthy of 

Imitation Instead of Pews, or inclosed seats, there are many Rows of 

Forms and Benches, so that those who first come are first served. 3 

Later on it is recommended that all the pews at St. Stephen's 
Coleman St. be burnt in Moorfields, and forms and benches substi 

Dr. Daubeny, the Archdeacon of Salisbury, built a church 
called Christ Church, at Walcot near Bath, which was opened in 
1798. He designed it for the poor, and all the seats were free and 
open. It is incorrectly said to have been the first free and open 
church in the country. 4 The cases given immediately above are 
some proof of the contrary. 

Watson, the notorious absentee from his diocese, could yet see 
what would be useful in London. In a letter to Mr. Wilberforce 
dated April 1 , 1 800 he says : 

The parish-churches of this metropolis are greatly too few . . . this 
inconvenience is much augmented by the pews which have been erected in 
them. What I would propose is the building an additional number of new 
churches, each on a large scale, in proper situations, which should have 

1 The New Bath Guide, Bath, Cruttwell, 1796, p. 34. 

2 See above, p. 153. 

3 The Reformation of the Church of England, Reformed, London, 1765, p. n, n. The 
writer is mistaken in thinking that pews came in after the Reformation. 

4 D.N.B. sub voce Charles Daubeny. 


no appropriated seats, but, being furnished merely with benches, should be 
open alike to the poor and rich of all parishes and of all countries. 1 

This was also the opinion of a clergyman in 1821 : 

1 wish that all churches were made so warm that the reader need not 
wish for a close pew, but that there were no pews at all, but merely rows of 
seats, with low backs, or rails for the backs of the congregation to lean against, 
and which might serve as the front to the row of seats behind it, and on to 
which a sloping desk might be fixed, to hold prayer-books, or to support the 
arms of the kneelers. There should be kneeling forms too throughout the 
church. Those seats near the door should have close backs, higher than the 
heads of the sitters, to keep off the wind. Pews are too often only a screen 
to sitting, instead of kneeling, during the prayers, and to talking, or sleeping, 
during the sermon. 2 

The behaviour of the Rattling Clubs in Church shows that square 
pews were already built in I7J4- 

It is needless to observe that the Gentlemen who every Sunday 
have the hard Province of instructing these Wretches in a way they are in 
no present Disposition to take, have a fixt Character for Learning and 
Eloquence . . . whatever surpasses the narrow Limits of their [the Rattling 
Clubs'] Theology, or is not suited to their Taste, they are all immediately 
upon their Watch, fixing their Eyes upon each other, with as much Warmth 
as our Gladiators of Hockley in the Hole, and waiting like them for a Hit ; 
if one touches, all take Fire, and their Noddles instantly meet in the Centre 
of the Pew ; then, as by beat of Drum, with exact Discipline, they rear up 
into a full Length of Stature, and with odd Looks and Gesticulations confer 
together. 3 


It is a matter for considerable regret that the private chapel, 
where the whole of the divine service was often said every day, can 
no longer be thought to exist. The writers of the eighteenth century 
often give us a glimpse of the domestic chapel. 4 It was indeed 
sometimes consecrated, as was the chapel in Lord Clarendon's 
house in Piccadilly. 5 It may be looked upon as the usual accompani 
ment of a squire's or nobleman's house. Richardson says : 

^Anecdotes of the life of Richard Watson, Bishop of Llandaff, London, Cadell and 
Davies, 1817, p. 341. 

2 Medicina Clerica, London, Seeley, 1821, p. 32. 

3 Spectator, No. 630, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1714. 4 See below, p. 156. 

5 J. Wickham Legg, English Orders for Consecrating Churches, Henry Bradshaw 
Society, IQII, p. 324, Ixiv. 


To this convenient house belongs an elegant little chapel, neatly de 
corated. 1 

Speaking of family prayers, the same writer says : 

The chapel, now our congregation is large, will be the properest place. 2 

In 1746 there is advertised a ballad (Moore, price 6d.) on Ld. 
D-n-r-1's "converting his Chapel into a Kitchen"; 3 an act plainly 
attended by a certain amount of scandal. 

Mr. Allworthy says, when told of the death of Mrs. Blifil : 

he would have his sister deposited in his own chapel. 4 

The events of Tom Jones are supposed to be taking place in 

At Wentworth Dr. Pococke noticed in 1750 that they had "a 
handsome chapel, where they have prayers every morning between 
ten and eleven ". 5 So at another great nobleman's house : Dr. 
Johnson found a chapel at Chatsworth in his journey into Wales in 

I774- 6 

The daily prayers used to be read in the domestic chapel, either 
by the chaplain, or the master of the house. In 1819, Washington 
Irving, in his account of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall, describes 
" a small chapel in the old wing of the house ". He adds : 

I afterwards understood that early morning service was read on every 
Sunday and saint's day throughout the year either by Mr. Bracebridge or 
by some member of his family. It was once almost universally the case at 
the seats of the nobility and gentry of England, and it is much to be re 
gretted that the custom is falling into neglect. 7 


Dr. Edward Wetenhall, afterwards Bishop of Killaloe, pub 
lished about 1666 a book of prayers with the title Enter into thy 

1 Samuel Richardson,, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Chapman and Hall, 
1902, vol. vii. p. 32, in Letter vi. 

2 ibid. p. 41. 

3 British Magazine for the year 1746, vol. i. p. 85. 

4 Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, Book V. ch. viii. in Works, ed. 
by Murphy and Browne, London, Bickers, 1871, vol. vi. p. 266. 

5 The travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. J. J. Cartwright, Cam- 
den Society, 1888, vol. i. p. 66. 

6 Samuel Johnson, A Diary of a Journey into North Wales in the year 1774, ed. 
R. Duppa, London, R. Jennings, 1816, p. 14. 

7 Washington Irving, The Keeping of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall, Dent, 1906, 
Ch. Christmas Day, p. 35. 


closet, which had the honour of being attacked by Hoadly ; and at 
the end of the first chapter of the first part he recommends those 
who wished to lead a life close to the ways of holiness to have a 
place convenient to retire into ; what he calls a closet, and we an 
oratory. I give the greater part of his description for an account 
of such at this time is rare, though the thing itself was not so very 

Now (it being supposed that my condition allows me so much choice, 
as that I might have it so) my Closet would I have no unpleasant place, as 
sweetly situated as any place of my house, that I might delight to be there 
in ; and by no means a low or darksom room, but as high as I well could : 
for that so it will be most remote from the noise, company, and disturb 
ance . . . 

The furniture of my Closet I would have a little more, than that of 
Elisha's chamber, A Table, a Stool and a Candlestick : and instead of his 
bed an hard Couch or great chair on which I might some times lean my 
weary or aching head : But a Couch the reather for that sometimes I haply 
might find it necessary to spend the whole night there, and might thereon 
take some repose. To these I would add a Bible, a Common-prayer book, 
two Paper books (which when filled must be supplyed by two others) and a 
Pen and Ink. Another book or two (of which hereafter I may also see occa 
sion) to add to these. A Chimney, against Winter's cold, to make the place 
endurable, if need be, a whole night, would be no contemptible conveni 
ence. If besides these, I there keep any thing, as Students do Books, 
Gentlemen writings, and Ladies Medicines, 6^. all these I would have 
placed on one side, or at least, one side I would have free from them, 
against which should either stand a table, or a Praying desk (that when 
occasion should be I might lay a book or paper before me) and the wall 
over such desk or table should be hung (if I were able to do it) with some 
stuff, of one colour, (Green the best) to the end that when there kneeling 
at my prayers, I might have in mine eye nothing to call away or divert 
my thoughts. 1 

Henry Cornwaleys, complaining of the few who come to church 
on a week day, gives this advice on Saturday night : 

Let them repair to their private Oratory ; Let them enter into their 

Closets. 2 

Lady Maynard, whom Ken directed, spent, he tells us, the best 
part of her time in her oratory. 

1 [Edward Wetenhall,] Enter into thy closet : or, a Method and Order for Private 
Devotion, 4th ed. London, Martyn, 1672, Part I. ch. ii. p. 5. The first edition is said 
to have appeared in 1666. 

2 H[enry] C[ornwaleys], The Country-Curate's Advice to his Parishioners, London, 
Robinson, 1693, P- 8. 


Her oratory was the place, where she principally resided, and where 
she was most at home. 1 

In the same way Sir George Wheler gives directions for a private 
chapel or oratory ; and, in cases where a special place cannot be re 
served, for the arrangement of a room used for domestic purposes. 

It is very Decent to adorn the place we worship God in, with such 
decent and proper Ornaments, as are useful for the Service we are about, 
or any way tend to the Edification of those present, or that may express 
Reverence and Respect to so great a Guest, as then we Receive and En 

Which consists not in great Pomp and Splendor, but Neatness ; in con 
venient and edifying Ornaments, with cleanliness. As a decent Desk or 
Table, to read the Word of God, and Pray on, set in the most convenient 
and respectable Place ; then to have convenient Seats set in com[e]ly Order 
for all present. If the Room be necessarily used about Domestick oc 
casions, to have all the Furniture put in due Order, and not lying in un 
seemly confusion, is no more than a good Housewife would do to receive 
her ordinary Neighbours. If it be adorn'd with any Pictures, I would have 
them such as represent some profitable History out of the Old or New Testa 
ment ; or Sufferings of the Martyrs. But not as the objects of our Devo 
tion, but such as may teach us some Moral or Religious Virtue, in the 
intervals of it. 2 

Thus Private Oratories were not unknown in this age. Swift 
is said to have regularly used such : 

The place which he occupied as an oratory was a small closet, in which, 
when his situation required to be in some degree watched, he was daily 
observed to pray with great devotion. 3 

William Law recommends the pious to have an oratory. 

To proceed ; if you was to use yourself (as far as you can) to pray 
always in the same place ; if you was to reserve that place for devotion, and 
not allow yourself to do any thing common in it ; if you was never to be 
there yourself, but in times of devotion ; if any little room, (or if that can 
not be) if any particular part of a room was thus used, this kind of conse 
cration of it, as a place holy unto God, would have an effect upon your 
mind, and dispose you to such tempers as would very much assist your 
devotion. For by having a place thus sacred in your room^ it would in 
some measure resemble a chapel or house of God. 4 

In Mrs. Delany's diary we read on November 17, 1750: 

1 Thomas Ken, Sermon preached at the funeral of the Right Hon. The Lady 
Margaret Mainard, in Prose Works, ed. J. T. Round, London, Rivington, 1838, p. 130. 

2 [George Wheler,] The Protestant Monastery, 1698, p. 98. 

3 The works of Jonathan Swift, ed. Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 1814, vol. i. p. 396. 

4 William Law, A serious call to a devout and holy life, ch. xiv. London, Innys 
and Richardson, 1753, p. 244. 


I have begun a large Madonna and Child for the chapel which is a 
great undertaking. 1 

In Amelia Dr. Harrison (for in the eighteenth century nearly 
all beneficed clergymen have taken a doctor's degree, if we trust 
the contemporary writers) says to a soldier who has just acquitted 
himself very well in the Doctor's eyes : 

" Sir " said he " if I knew half a dozen such instances in the army, the 
painter should put red liveries upon all the saints in my closet." ' 

The pictures of the saints, then, were hung up in the oratories 
of the clergy at this time. 

In 1768 there is a description by Mrs. Delany of a fop's chapel : 

I was a little provoked at his chapel, which is within his dressing room. 
It is not above eight feet square, or rather an octagon ; it is an exact re 
presentation of a popish chapel expensively decorated . . . There are 
many crucifixes in it, ivory figures of saints, crowns, and crosses set with 
sapphire. 3 

It would seem that there were spikes (as Dr. Bright of Christ- 
church used to call them) in 1768. 

Johnson looked upon the parish church as a proper place for 
private devotion. At Harwich, in 1763, about August 6, when on 
his road to Utrecht, Boswell writes : 

We went and looked at the church, and having gone into it and walked 
up to the altar, Johnson, whose piety was constant and fervent, sent me 
to my knees, saying, ' Now that you are going to leave your native country, 
recommend yourself to the protection of your Creator and Redeemer '. 

1 Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville Mrs. Delany, London, 
Bentley, 1861, First Series, vol. ii. p. 616. 

2 Henry Fielding, Amelia, Book II. ch. iv. in Works, ed. Murphy and Browne, 
Bickers, 1871, vol. viii. p. 223. 

3 Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville Mrs. Delany, London, 
Bentley, 1862, Second Series, vol. i. p. 177, Oct. 10, 1768. 




[i.] A Communion Table 

[a.] An Altar Pall of Green Cloth bordered with silk fringe 

[3.] A Silk Cushion with Gold Tassels 

[4.] A Communion service book in 8vo. bound in Red Turkey, 
and ornamented with a Glory and Ribbons tipped with Gold Fringe 

[5.] A Paste-Board with the Consecration Prayer, bordered with Purple 

[6.] An Altar Piece of Mahogany with a painting of a Dead Christ by 
Wale, in a gilt frame, under a pediment ornamented with a Glory and 
finished with 3 Sham Tepers f in Candlesticks carved and gilt. 

[7.] Two Side-Boards in Niches, one in the South, and the other in the 
North wall. 

[8.] A Damask linen Table Cloth 

[9.] Two Damask Napkins and two small Cambric Altar-Towels 

[10.] Two brown fustian pieces for the sideboards with' fine Dimity 
Coverings fronted with pendent borders of Muslin 

[n.] A Silver Chalice and Paten and a small silver straining spoon 

[12.] A Silver Flagon, given by Mr. Blanks, and a Pint Glass-decanter 
and stopper 

[13.] A Silver Plate given by Mr. Crosse 

[14.] A Water-Glass, Bottle and Stopper, to rinse the Vessels after the 
Eucharistic Service 

[15.] A Long Surplice, A Bachelor's and Master's Hood 

[16.] A Short Surplice for Funerals 

[17.] An Alb 

[18.] A Surplice without Sleeves, intended for the Clerk. 

[19.] A Mahogany Stool covered with Silk Moreen, brass-nailed. 

[20.] A Mahogany three leg'd Candlestick with a brass Socket and 
Taper for funeral Service 



[2 1 .] Two square Mats and two long ditto and a long Hair cloth and 
two l Oval Matt 

[22.] Three kneeling boards of the length of the Septum, covered with 
red Leather. 

[23.] 2 A Folio Bible in 2 Vols 2 

[24.] Four folio Common Prayer books, the book of Homilies, and 
Fox's Martyrs 3 Vols 

[25.] A Deal Pulpit and Canopy, an hour Glass, and Pulpit-Cloth 

[26.] A Reading Desk with a Cloth Cushion, and Kneeling Stool. 

[27.] A Wainscot Litany Desk with Silk Covering a Stool and Cushion 
and Litany Book in Qrto 

[28.] An Oak Bier, and a Funeral Pall of black Cloth bordered with 
white Crape 

[29.] A Paste-board with the funeral service bordered with black Ribbon 

[30.] A Chest with three Locks for the Parish Writings 

[31.] A long Box 3 of Oak 3 for the burying pall 

[32.] A Stand for the support of ditto, and both united were used as a 
reading Desk for the Martyrology 4 till displaced by the erecting of a new 
Pew at the upper end of the South Ayle. The stand is removed into the 

[33.] A Wooden Horse (instead of a better conveniency) for the surplice 
and hood 

[34.] A Long Pole and brush, a hand brush dusting 5 pan, and Hair- 

[35.] Hassocks No. 129. a fresh supply is order'd 

[36.] A Collecting Box, a Looking Glass, Almanac-frame and 2 Ex 

[37.] A Church Clock 

[38.] A Ring of five Bells 

[39.] A Small Bell communicating with the Vestry to notify the 
Minister's arrival there to the persons in the belfry 

[40.] A Small Chain and Padlock to secure the Septum 

[41.] A Font of Stone, lined with lead, having 6 a hole at the bottom to 
convey the water into a Cavity beneath 

[42.] A Grate in the Chimney of the Vestry-room 

[43.] The Vestry- Room has a floor of Deal over a deep 7 Cavity almost 
filled with loose flints to prevent the rising of the Damps ; And the Walls, 
to a proper height, are batten 'd and plaister'd 

The Room being much pestered with Bats, it is intended to ceil it in 
the course of the summer 

1 Two is interlined over an struck out. 2 ' 2 interlined. 

'- 3 interlined. * j n t fa s wor d Martyrology the ro is interlined. 

5 dusting written over an erasure. 6 written over erasure. ''interlined. 



[44.] A Long and short ladder are intended to be bought for the 
purpose of getting upon the Roofs there being no access to them by a Stair- 
Case i 

[On the back is written in the same hand a list of the parish charities 
which is signed by the Vicar and churchwardens and also by the Archdeacon 
as exhibited before him. It begins with the following sentence :] 

" The following is an Account of the Charities and Benefactions to the 
Parish of Bledlow." [The account ends with these signatures :] 

Jo Davey Vicar 


1 9th May 1783 

Exhibited before me 

Luke Heslop Archdn. 

[Here ends the long Inventory ; and there follow some Church wardens' 
accounts with a short recension of the long Inventory.] 
Church wardens' accounts 

Brought on 16. n. 8 

By William Bigg's Disbursements viz. 

For charges at a Visitation 28 May 1782 0.13.6 

Do at a Visitation 23 Octr following o. 12. 6 

For a bonfire on the 5 November o. 6. o 

For three head of vermin @ ^d o. i. o 

For 13 Dozen of Sparrows @ $d per dozen o. 3. 3 

For 9 Dozen of Old Ditto @ 6d o. 4. 6 

2. oo. o 

1 8. 12. 5 

For Parchment and Making out two Inventories of the Books 
Utensils and Ornaments belonging to the Church and 
Exhibited at the parochial Visitation of the Revd. and 
Worshipful Mr. Archdeacon Heslop, holden here the 1 9th 
of May 1 783. One of the Inventories signed by the Vicar 
and Churchwardens was deliver'd in at the Court and 
the other is to remain among the Parish writings. o. 17.^ o 

18. 19. 5. 

1 The following paragraphs are written in pencil below the last entry. 

A Painted iron Register Chest as per Act 52d Geo. III. 

A Large strong Deal Parish Chest containing the Award of Inclosure Date 1812. 

A pencilled cross has been made, possibly by the same hand, in the margin of the 
following items : 5. 10. 14. 16. 17. 18. 19. 27. and against two small cambric Altar- 
Towels in 9. a small silver straining spoon in n. a Pint Glass-decanter and stopper in 
12. and an hour Glass in 25. 


[The verso of this leaf is blank] 

Brought on i%- 19. 5. 

A List of Articles included in the Inventory, many of 

which had been long in use, and others were provided 

against the Visitation. 

[3.] A Silk Cushion with Gold Tassels for the Altar o. 10. o 

[4.] An Altar-service book bound in Red Turkey o. 10. o 

[5.] A Paste-board with the Consecration prayer bor 
dered with purple Ribbond o. i. 6 
[9.] Two Cambric Altar-Towels o. 2. 6 
[10.] Two Fustian and two Dimity Pieces with Muslin 

frontals for the side boards o. 5. o 

[IT.] A Silver straining spoon o. 3. o 

[12.] A Glass pint decanter and stopper in the Flaggon o. 2. o 
[14.] A Small oblong Water-bottle and stopper and a 

Water-Glass o. 3. o 

[16. 17. 1 8.] An Alb, a short surplice for funerelsf and 

another for the Clark without Sleaves o. 15. o 

[19.] A Mahogany stool cover'd with Moreen o. 16. 6 

[21.] Two Square Mats and two Oval ditto o. 3. 10 

Five Yards of Yard wide ditto and 5 Yards of half 

yard o. io. o 

[2 1 .] Six Yards of Hair Cloth o. 7. 6 

[36.] Two Extinguishers 0< Oi 5 

[27.] A Litany Desk and Carriage 1 i. 5. g 

24. 9. 3. 

[The verso of this leaf is blank] 

Brought on 24> g 3 

[25.] An hour glass and small Looking Glass o. 2. 8 

[36.] An Almanac frame 0> z o 

[42.] A grate in the Chimney of the Vestry Room o. 5. 6 

[39.] A Small Bell and Wire communicating with the 

Belfry to notify to the Ringer's the minister's arrival o. 3. 6 

[20.] A Mahogany three leg'd Candlestick with a brass 

Socket for funeral Service Ot ~ 

[29.] A Pasteboard with the funeral Service border'd 

with Black Ribbon 

25. io. ii 

1 written over\ erasure. 





IN the early part of our period there is evidence that baptism with 
in a few hours after birth was a custom approved by many. It 
agrees with the rubric in the Prayer Book that the Curates of every 
Parish shall often admonish the people that they defer not the Baptism 
of their Children longer than the first or second Sunday next after 
their birth. Accordingly we find that the Duke of York's son, 1 
born to him on September 14, 1667, was baptized the same day. 2 
So earlier, in 1661 Pepys notes that a child was born on May 26, 
and baptized on May 29; and on Feb. 20, 1665-66 he goes to 
the christening of Capt. Ferrers' child born the day before. On 
July 12, 1668 he notes the birth and christening the same day of 
Mrs. Michell's baby. Mrs. Godolphin's son was born on a Tuesday, 
September 3, 1678, and was baptized on the following Thursday. 3 
On May 20, 1669 Evelyn's daughter, Susannah, was born, and 
baptized on the 2 5th. On March I, 1681-2 his second grandchild 
"was born and christen'd the next day"; on June 28, 1683 was 
born a grand-daughter 

and christened by the name of Martha Maria, our Vicar officiating. I 
pray God blesse her and may she choose the better part. 

Addison was born and christened the same day, May the first, 

1 The following note may serve to show how one of the sacraments was neglected 
by the Puritans before the Restoration. 

" Mr. Graunt observes that the number of christenings in 1660 was greater than 
anie three yeers foregoing." (Diary of the Rev. John Ward . . . extending from 
1648 to 1679, ed. by Charles Severn, London, Colburn, 1839, p. 162. It is not a diary so 
much as a memorandum book.) The disappearance of the Eucharist under the Common 
wealth has been spoken of at the beginning of the second chapter. 

2 British Museum, MS. Add. 10,117, fo. 210. 

3 The Life of Mrs. Godolphin, by John Evelyn, London, Sampson Low, 1888, 
p. 142. 



1672, by the name of Joseph. 1 A son of Dr. Comber, Dean of 
Durham, was born on November 26, and baptized on Dec. 4, i688. 2 

Christopher, son of Christopher Wood, was born on Dec. 15, 
1666, and was baptized on the 2ist. 3 

In 1677, 

Nov. yth. The Duchesse of York was safely delivered of a son. . . . 
Twas christen'd the next day in the evening by the Bishop of Durham. 4 

George Lavington, Bishop of Exeter, was born on January 1 8, 
1683-4, and baptized the same day. 5 John Byrom was born and 
baptized the same day. 6 Luke Heslop, Archdeacon of Bucking 
ham, was born and baptized on St. Luke's day, I738. 7 , 

In 1747 a child immediately after the Caesarian extraction was 
christened by the name of Jonah and it was declared likely to live. 8 

Sir Charles Grandison delays the christening for a few days 
because he was anxious that it should be performed at church. 
" Shall it not be performed when it can, as the church directs ; the 
child in full health?" 9 It was observed about 1730 that in the 
Isle of Man the people always brought their children to the church 
to be baptized, no matter how far off they lived. 10 

On the other hand, Mrs. Montagu's boy was born on May II, 
1743, but not baptized till "the latter end of next week," after 
June 4. 11 

The Prince of Wales, afterwards King George the Fourth, was 
born on August 12, 1762, but not baptized until September i8. 12 
And towards the end of our period, practice had become very lax, 
and so continues. 

1 Samuel Johnson, Life of Addison, in Works, Edinburgh, 1806, vol. xii. p. i. 

2 Memoirs of . . . Thomas Comber, D.D. ed. Thomas Comber, London, 1799, 
p. 266. 

3 Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 
1892, vol. ii. p. 95. 

4 Diary of Dr. Edward Lake, ed. by George Percy Elliott, Camden Society, 1846, 
p. 7. 

5 D.N.B. under George Lavington. 

6 J. Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, John Murray, 1892, under Byrom. 

7 D.N.B. under Luke Heslop. 

8 Manchester Magazine, July 28, 1747. 

9 Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Chapman and Hall, 
1902, vol. vii. p. 20, Letter v. 

10 George Waldron, A Description of the Isle of Man, contained in Compleat Works, 
no place or name, 1731, second pagination, p. 170. 

11 Elizabeth Montagu the Queen of the Blue-stockings, ed. Emily J. Climenson, 
Murray, 1906, vol. i. p. 148. 

u Annual Register for 1762, fifth ed. Dodsley, Chronicle, pp. 96-98. 

1 66 BAPTISM. 

The Puritans greatly disliked baptism in the old stone font, 
which they looked upon as polluted by the superstitious papistical 
baptism of the middle ages. A return to the use of the old font 
was insisted upon by the canons of 1603, and the use of basons 
forbidden by exclusion. 1 

It is worth noting that at Wylie, a parish in Wiltshire, they had 
in 1781 

A Silver Bason for Baptisms.' 2 

It would seem safe to assume that the silver bason is to hold 
the water in which the child is to be baptized. A moveable font is 
often seen in the East of silver, and was formerly in use in the West 
for the children of great persons. There was a silver font at Canter 
bury for the children of the King of England and a brazen font at 
Edinburgh for the children of the King of Scots. 3 The royal family 
of England are still baptized in a special silver vessel. 

At St. George's Windsor a great deal of the plate was stolen 
in 1642 by a Captain Fogg ; and amongst other things lost was 

The great Brass Bason, or Font for Christenings, given by the Founder 
King Edward \\\* 

At Girgenti in Sicily, in the year 1908, I saw baptism admin 
istered in a silver or white-metal bason. Towards the end of the 
high mass in the Duomo this bason was set upon an altar in the 
nave, near to where I was, and I saw a child baptized in it, while 
the high Mass was still going on in the quire. 

It would seem that baptism by immersion had been discontinued 
even at the time of the Restoration. It is much to be wished that 
baptism by immersion as also many other ancient customs could be 
restored ; though, perhaps, not for the reasons which the author of 
the following paragraph submits : 

Were the immersion in Baptism restor'd here according to the primi 
tive Practice, and the Kubrick of the present Church ; it would be more 
conformable to the primitive Institution, and more conducive to the 
Infants Health ; the Rickets not being known in England until that Cus 
tom was omitted, which Immersion I have seen several times practis'd in 

1 Canon 81. (Edw. Cardwell, Synodalia, Oxf. 1842, vol. i. p. 211.) 

2 G. R. Hadow, The Registers of the Parish of Wylye in the county of Wilts, 
1913, Devizes, Simpson, p. 141. 

3 J. Wickham Legg and W. H. St. John Hope, Inventories of Christchurch Canter 
bury, Westminster, Constable, 1902, pp. 237 and 238. 

4 Christopher Wren, Parentalia, London, 1750, p. 137. 


this Church with great Safety and Success, and all the Infants enjoyed 
constant Health for many Years. 1 

Baptism by immersion is indeed the primitive practice, and the 
temperature of the water may be artificially raised in which the child 
is to be baptized, as it is amongst the Orthodox Christians. And 
in the West, though baptism by immersion is not often seen, yet the 
godparent usually brings a kettle of warm water with him or her 
for use at the font. What is quoted above about the Rickets is of 
course pure fancy and may be disregarded. As next best to bap 
tism by immersion baptism with abundance of water is to be re 
commended. Such an instance of this is given in 1798 : 

My brother whispered William Way not to drown it, as he thought he 
threw so much cold water on it ; but she was fast asleep the whole time. 2 

The author of Medicina Clerica mentions quite incidentally as a 
cause of the length of the service at the great festivals that " Easter 
and Whitsunday are days on which the lower classes like to have 
their children baptized"; 3 judging from the rest of the work, I 
should think the writer had no notion that these seasons were the 
times at which anciently baptism was commonly administered. It 
is a curious survival amongst the lower classes, always so conserva 
tive. He adds : 

I always, too, make a point of pouring away the water in which a child 
has been baptized, that it may not be employed by the people of the house 
to any superstitious purposes. 4 

In North Wales during the first half of the eighteenth century 
it is noted that 

If there be a fynnon vair (well of our lady or other saint in the parish) 
the water for baptism in the font is fetched thence. Old women are very 
fond of washing their eyes with the water after baptism. 5 

I am told that on the Continent the eyes are often touched with 
holy water, and thus ophthalmia is spread. 

The adoption of the Church as a profession has been known to 

1 Mitre and Crown, October, 1748, vol. i. p. 3. 

2 Serena Holroyd to Maria Josepha Stanley, January 20, 1798, in the Early 
Married Life of Maria Josepha Lady Stanley, ed. by Jane H. Adeane, Longmans, 1899, 
P- 153. 

3 Medicina Clerica, London, Seeley, 1821, p. 42 note. 

4 ibid. p. 134. 

5 From a MS. book of a Bishop of St. Asaph, written about a century before publi 
cation in British Magazine, 1835, vol. vii. p. 399. 


be called "going into the Church," and though it is a convenient 
expression, yet the more pedantic have considered that it should 
only be applied to entrance into the Church by Baptism. It is used 
in this latter sense by one Henry Brougham writing on October I, 
1684 to his godfather, Sir Daniel Fleming, whom he thanks for 
"the inestimable kindness you did me in procuring my admission 
into the Church ". 1 Dr. Magrath points out that he really does 
mean Baptism. Henry Brougham's letters are not in manner far 
behind those of the admirable Mr. Collins in Miss Austen's Pride 
and Prejudice. 


The fifth commandment has for forty years or more been of 
little or no account in England. So that it may be useful to point 
out how it was kept in our period as a contrast with what passes 
before us in our time. Children knelt to ask the parents' blessing. 
We are told this by a foreigner who is speaking of the English 
manners and customs. 

Well brought-up children, on rising and going to bed, wish their 
fathers and mothers " Good morning " or " Good evening," and kneeling 
before them ask for their blessing. The parents, placing their hands 
on their children's heads, say " God bless you," or some such phrase, 
and the children then kiss their parents' hands. If they are orphans the 
same ceremony is performed with their grandparents or nearest relations. 2 

Swift alludes to the practice in describing the wild man from 
Hanover, perhaps a congenital idiot who had escaped into the woods : 

observing children to ask blessing of their mothers, one day he fell 
down upon his knees to a sow, and muttered some sounds in that humble 
posture. 3 

In the Spectator there is Honoria, the would-be-young Mother, 
whose daughter, Flavia, is almost her rival, and thus awkward acci 
dents happen. 

When a Lover of Honoria was on his Knees beseeching the Favour to 
kiss her Hand, Flavia rushing into the Room kneeled down by him and 
asked Blessing. 4 

1 J. R. Magrath, The Flemings in Oxford, Oxford Historical Society, 1913, vol. ii. p. 

2 Csar de Saussure, A foreign view of England in the Reigns of George I. and 
George II. London, Murray, 1902, p. 296. 

3 Works of Jonathan Swift, ed. by Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 1814, vol. xiii. p. 
201, in " It cannot rain but it pours". 

* Spectator, No. 91, Thursday, June 14, 1711. 


Hearne speaks of a daughter asking her father's blessing as soon 
as she saw him, and again when taking leave. 1 

Lady Bute reports that her mother, Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu, started up from the dressing table and fell on her knees 
before a stranger who had just entered the room, and asked his 
blessing. 2 It was the Duke of Kingston, her father. 

In like manner Samuel Richardson speaks of it as a matter 
of course, when a child meets a mother, even in a sort of public 

Anne saw her first, I alighted, and asked her blessing in the shop : I 
am sure I did right. She blessed me and called me dear love. 3 

A grandmother receives the same marks of respect : 

She hurried in to her grandmother, rejoicing, as she always does, to see 
her. She kneeled ; received her tender blessing. 4 

When I was in Vienna in 1909 I saw in a middle class family 
the younger members run up, curtsy, and kiss the hand of the 
grandmother, or some aged kinswoman. 

Godfathers also gave their blessing. There is a characteristic 
entry by Mr. Pepys on this custom, April n, 1661. 

By and by we come to two little girles keeping cows, and I saw one of 
them very pretty, so I had a mind to make her aske my blessing, and 
telling her that I was her godfather, she asked me innocently whether I 
was not Ned Wooding, and I said that I was, so she kneeled down and 
very simply called, " Pray, godfather, pray to God to bless me " which made 
us very merry, and I gave her twopence. 

The same obeisance is accorded to the priest. 

The two younger, impressed by the venerable description Sir Charles 
had given of him, [the Rev. Dr. Bartlett] of their own accord, the younger, 
by the elder's example, fell down on their knees before him and begged his 
blessing. 5 

If to the priest, still more to the bishop. In Charles Leslie's 
Rehearsal we read : 

It is the proper office of spriest to bless in the name of the Lord. And it is 
the blessing of God we ask from those to whom he has granted commission 

1 Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1902, vol. 
vi. p. 127. 

u George Paston [E. M. Symonds], Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her times, 
Methuen, no date [ ? 1907], p. 287. 

3 Samuel Richardson, The history of Sir Charles Grandison, Bart. Chapman and 
Hall, 1902, vol. iv. Letter xxxviii. p. 296. 

4 ibid. vol. v. Letter xiv. p. 124. 6 ibid. vol. iv. Letter v. p. 51. 


to give it. We ask it upon our knees from our natural parents, much more 
ought we from our fathers in God, to whom he has given his commission, and 
separated them for that end. 

and a few lines above the same writer has said 
we kneel to our bishops and ask their blessing.^ 

John Hudson, Bodley's Librarian, tells Hearne that when at 
Peterborough in 1707, 

As I went into the Church just as the Evening Prayers were ended I 
mett the Bishop, [Richard Cumberland] and beg'd his blessing ; I told him 
that I was a Traveller that came from Oxon. 2 

There is another earlier instance when a whole people seems to 
have gone on its knees to ask the Bishops' blessing. This is the 
description which Evelyn gives us of the Seven Bishops going to 
the Tower on June 8, 1688. 

The concern of the people for them was wonderfull, infinite crouds on 
their knees begging their blessing, and praying for them as they pass'd out 
of the barge alone [along] the Tower-wharfe. 

Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, had a somewhat dis 
agreeable experience of a pretended respect paid by a false devotee. 
For when he was leaving the Tower for his exile, 

One of the fair enthusiasts went up to his chair and kissed his hand. 
She manifested a world of affectionate tenacity, and the ex-prelate was only 
just in time to discover that the pretty, tearful Jenny Diver had quietly drawn 
a valuable ring off his finger, with her lips. The ring was saved, but Atter 
bury consigned her to the mob who as the papers remark, followed the 
usual custom on such occasions. They ducked her in the river. 8 

Atterbury had not ceased to be a prelate as Dr. Doran suggests, 
though deprived of his see. 

Much later in the century we find both the practice of blessing 
and kneeling in existence in the Isle of Man : 

The kneeling for a blessing is very customary amongst relatives in the 
Isle of Mann when they meet ; and the benediction pronounced is, generally, 
Dy bannee Jee oo: "God bless you". It is also usual with the islanders, 
upon meeting their diocesan, to kneel down on one knee, and ask his blessing.* 

1 Rehearsal, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1707, N. 266, in A View of the Times, ed. Phila- 
lethes [Charles Leslie] sec. ed. London, 1750, vol. iv. p. 181. 

2 Letters addressed to Thomas Hearne, ed. Frederic Ouvry, privately printed, 1874, 
p. 16. 

3 John Doran, London in the Jacobite Times, London, Bentley, 1877, vol. i. p. 434. 

4 Memoirs of Mark Hildesley D.D. Lord Bishop ofSodor and Mann, ed. by Weeden 
Butler, London, Nichols, 1799, p. 98. 


The custom of kneeling for the Bishop's blessing must have 
lasted up to the end of our period, if not beyond it. A writer who 
does not give dates speaks of it thus at Exeter : 

In those days the choir boys always waited in the nave, after service, 
for the Bishop's blessing as he passed. ... I was standing near them, 
and, as they knelt, followed their example. 1 

In Sir Roger de Coverley's parish church, it is said that 

The Knight walks down from his Seat in the Chancel between a 
double Row of his Tenants, that stand bowing to him on each Side. 2 

In Medicina Clerica one of the reasons for having a vestry door 
near the reading pew is that the congregation may not get up to 
make their bows and curtsies on the clergyman's entrance or 
passing them. 3 

Nowadays the whole congregation rises when the clergy come 
into the church to perform service, which possibly enough took its 
origin in the practice just spoken of. 

Miss Austen is shocked at a disrespectful utterance which seems 
to us quite slight. 4 In Democratic France, Monsieur Rene Boy- 
lesve speaks of young people calling their parents by their 
Christian names, 6 and I have heard that the same thing is done in 
England. In more colleges than one at Oxford, the undergraduates 
address the dons by their nicknames. Thus the spirit of democracy 
eats into the very heart of family life and of discipline. 


In the eighteenth century they had for the most part unlearnt 
the Puritan practice of sitting in Church with the hat on. Mr. 
Pepys heard a sermon against the practice on November 17, 1661, 
which is some evidence of its existence. 

And so some thirteen years after it was still thought desirable 
to admonish persons against the practice : 

1 An elderly Bachelor, Not many years ago, London, Skeffington, 1898, sec. ed. ch. 
vi. p. 105. I am indebted to an Elderly Bachelor for a copy of his work the value of 
which must increase every year. 

2 Spectator, No. 112, Monday, July 9, 1711. 

3 Medicina Clerica, London, Seeley, 1821, p. 14. 

4 Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, ch. vi. Miss Crawford spoke of her " honoured 
uncle," who was not altogether a good character. 

5 Rene" Boylesve, Madeleine jeune femme, ch. iii. 


not putting on our Hats in contempt, as soon as Prayers or service is 
over. 1 

And as late as 1716 it was thought necessary to warn persons 
against walking into church with the hat on : 

The plain Meaning of Eccles. 5.1. exprest agreeably to our Customs or 
Fashions, is this: Take care and put off your Hat, when you go into the 
House of God or Church. 2 

But Bernard Mandeville remarks : " If we see a man walk with 
his hat on in a church, though out of service time, it shocks us". 3 
Johnson speaks with respect of Dr. John Campbell as a good pious 
man though he has not been inside a church for many years, be 
cause he never passes a church without pulling off his hat. 4 

Such an act of reverence would have been approved by Dr. 
Butler, the great Bishop of Durham, who recommends reminders 
to stir up in our hearts the sense of our duty to God. 

Exhort them to make use of every circumstance, which brings the 
subject of religion at all before them ; to turn their hearts habitually to 
him ; to recollect seriously the thoughts of his presence in whom they live 
and move and have their being^ and by a short act of their mind devote 
themselves to his service. If, for instance, persons would accustom them 
selves to be thus admonished by the very sight of a church, could it be 
called superstition ? 5 

This idea was enlarged by the Rev. Thomas Richards in a work 
which went through at least six editions : 

Secret Ejaculations too may be used as you are walking, or riding, or 
in whatever Company you may happen to be and, on some particular 
Hour, remember (as for Instance, at Morning, Noon, or Evening, when 
your TOWN-CLOCK strikes, which will be a loud and never-failing Memo 
randum) to set yourself in the Presence of GOD for a few Minutes. 6 


Fashionable people at the beginning of the eighteenth century 
commonly saluted each other when they came into church. The 

1 Thomas Wemys, Beth-Hak-Kodesh, London, Bring, 1674, P- I 4 I - 

2 Edward Wells, Discourse concerning the great and indispensable duty of a decent 
and reverent behaviour in church at all times, London, Knapton, 1716, p. u. 

3 B. Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, gth ed. Edinburgh, 1755, vol. i. p. 141. 

4 BosweWs Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. i. p. 417, 
about July i, 1763. 

5 Joseph Butler, A charge delivered to the Clergy . . . of Durham, 1751, in Works, 
ed. by W. E. Gladstone, Oxford, 1896, vol. ii. p. 412. 

6 [Thomas] Richards, Hints for Religious Conversation, London, Dilly, 3 ed. 
1771, p. 36. For an account of this author see above, in ch. iv. p. 85. 


writers in the Spectator notice it. It was frowned upon by the more 
reverent, but it nevertheless continued till after the middle of the 

I have a very angry Letter from a Lady, who tells me of one of her 
Acquaintance, who, out of mere Pride and a Pretence to be rude, takes upon 
her to return no Civilities done to her in Time of Divine Service, and is 
the most religious Woman for no other Reason but to appear a Woman of 
the best Quality in the Church. 1 

A little later on the Spectator speaks of: 

The Ceremonies, Bows, Curtsies, Whisperings, Smiles, Winks, Nods, 
with other familiar Arts of Salutation, which take up in our Churches so 
much Time, that might be better employed, and which seem so utterly 
inconsistent with the Duty and true Intent of our entring into those 
Religious Assemblies. 2 

He praises the much better behaviour in the Roman Catholic 
churches abroad. 

Lavinia, who was to church as constant as to Drury Lane, be 
haves thus as she enters the pew : 

Her lifted fan, to give a solemn air, 
Conceals her face, which passes for a prayer \ 
Curt'sies to curt'sies, then, with grace, succeed ; 
Not one the fair omits, but at the creed. 
Or if she joins the Service, 'tis to speak ; 
Thro' dreadful silence the pent heart might break : 
* # * 

Since Sundays have no balls, the well-dress'd belle 
Shines in the pew, but smiles to hear of hell? 

Mrs. Primrose, it will be remembered, complained that the 
Squire's wife only returned her civilities at church with a mutilated 
curtsey. 4 


But putting aside these mutual salutations on entering the church 
there is another obeisance different altogether, that is made to the 
East of the Church, or to the altar itself. It is noticed early in 
our period. Mr. Pepys being at Windsor, on February 26, 1665-66, 
records : 

1 Spectator, No. 259, Dec. 27, 1711. z idem. No. 460, Aug. 18, 1712. 

3 Edward Young, Love of fame. Satire vi. line 25, in Works, London, 1757, vol. 
i. pp. 141, 154. 

4 Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield, ch. i. See also above, p. 64. 


Great bowing by all the people, the poor Knights in particularly, to the 

This bowing to the altar at Windsor went on at the installa 
tion of Knights of the Garter in 1762.* 

The sovereign, making his reverence to the altar, descended from his 
stall, and then making another reverence, proceeded to the offering. . . . 
The sovereign coming to the rails of the altar, Black Rod delivered the 
offering on his knee to the knight, who presented it to the sovereign ; 
and his majesty taking off his cap, and kneeling, put the offering into the 
bason held by the prelate assisted by the prebends. 

The sovereign then rising, made one reverence to the altar, and being 
in his stall another. 

The reverences made by the knights are here omitted from this 

One New Year's day, 1787, Miss Burney gives an account of the 
reverences made by the Sovereign. 

The Dean then read aloud, " Let your light so shine before men, &c. " 
The organ began a slow and solemn movement, and the King came down 
from his stall, and proceeded, with a grave and majestic walk, towards the 
communion table. When he had proceeded about a third of the way, he 
stopped, and bowed low to the altar : then he moved on, and again, at an 
equal distance, stopped for the same formality, which was a third and last 
time repeated as he reached the steps of the altar. Then he made his 
offering, which, according to the order of the original institution, was ten 
pounds in gold and silver, and delivered in a purse : he then knelt down, 
and made a silent prayer. 2 

Leaving the ceremonies at Windsor, let us return to general 

In 1682 an attempt is made to justify Church customs against 
Puritan prejudice ; and incidentally is shown what these customs 

Prejudice. Have I not seen your Gravest Divines among you, at 
their entrance into the Church, cast their Eyes upon the Glass Windows, 
bow towards the Altars, worship the Pictur'd Saints, and make Leggs to 
the Brazen Candlesticks ? 

Reason. All this is said upon the account of Bowing towards the 
Altar. 3 

1 Annual Register, 1762, Chronicle, Sept. 22, fifth ed. , London, Dodsley, 1787, 
p. 125. 

2 Diary and Letters of Madame d'Arblay, London, Colburn, 1842, vol. iii. p. 269, 
January i, 1787. 

3 A Dialogue between Mr. Prejudice . . . and Mr. Reason, a Student in the Uni 
versity, London, Sawbridge, 1682, p. 7. 


This is testimony offered by the Churchmen themselves of what 
they did It is better evidence than what is given us by a wretched 
renegade who had turned his coat many times. He thus pours out 
his venom : 

Risum teneatis ? Amid I Come hold your sides ... to see a grave 
Dignitory f of the Church, with Tippet and Sattin Cap, a gaudy Cope and 
Hood (before and behind) nodding his Reverend Head, and making 
Reverences so humble, that his brisly Chin even kisses the ground (no 
Antick French Man, or Father Peter, can outvie the Complement) in an 
humble Address to the East, to the Altar. 1 

Dr. Edward Bernard, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford 
towards the end of the seventeenth century, thus records his 
practice : 

When I enter the place of common prayer, as the choir of a collegiate 
Church, or the body of a parish church or chappell, I worship God by 
humble bowing of my body towards his holy altar, where I have often ex 
perienced his most gracious and glorious presence. 2 

To encourage the practice of making a reverence when coming 
into church there was published in 1706 a tract of 44 pages with 
this title : 

Reverential Love : or, God Honour'd by the Pious Decency of The 
Minister's humbly Bowing the Head when he approaches to, or comes 
from, the Altar, or Communion-Table, in the Worship of God . . . 

London : printed by W. B. for William Carter, at the Green Dragon 
in St. Paul's Churchyard, 1706. 

On p. 8, iv. the writer asks : 

Shall it be a Duty for a Priest of the Jews to worship God before the 
Altar ; and must it be a Sin, or no Duty for a Christian Priest to worship 
God before the Altar ? 

If we have a Christian Sacrifice, must we have no Altar ? Or if we 
have, must we not worship there ? 

In 1707 Hearne quotes a letter of Dr. Hickes, written in the 
same year, bewailing the disappearance of the ancient notion of 
Priest, Sacrifice, and Altar, and that 

the antient devout Custom of worshiping towards the Holy Altar is quite 
laid aside in some Cathedrals, and Colleges, and begins to be disused in 
others, and as I hear, in another place, which I shall not name. 3 

1 Edm. Hickeringill, The Ceremony Monger, London, 1689, ch. i. p. 13. 

2 Manuscript in lower margin of leaf a i. of Act of Uniformity in Dr. Edward 
Bernard's Book of Common Prayer in the Bodleian Library, C. P. 1686, c. i (formerly 
S. C. 27762). 

3 Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1886, vol. ii. 
p. 64. 


The source of the information is Hickes, who was not at that 
time a member of the Church of England, and his testimony may 
therefore be suspect. And Hearne is always ready to look on the 
dark side. But in the north bowing at coming into church was 
still the practice. 

We may observe the Generality of old People among the Commonalty, 
as they enter into the Church, to turn their Faces towards the Altar, and 
bow or kneel that Way. 

* * * 

in the ancient Church they prayed with their Faces to the East ; and that 
many of our own Church at this Day, turn their Faces to that Quarter of 
the World, at the Repetition of the Creed. 1 

The same testimony comes from an Archdeacon of Northumber 

If it be asked whether there be any Piety, or Religion, in bowing to 
wards the Altar, or at the name of Jesus, or in turning sometimes towards 
the East at the Repetition of the Creeds &c. which are customs received 
from the undated Usage of the Christian Church ? I answer, There is no 
Holiness in these Things by any Means . . . only Points of Order and 

There is, I think, an allusion to bowing at entering the church 
and going out in Arbuthnot's John Bull. 

They were so plagued with bowing and cringing as they went in and 
out of the room, that their backs ached. 3 

In the Pious Country Parishioner the communicant is told : 

At the end of the Communion, turn your Face to the Altar, and bow 
ing your Body, say to your self; 

Mine Eyes have seen Thy Salvation (5rv. 4 

This direction continues in the ninth edition of 1745, but it has 
disappeared in the thirteenth, that of 1753. 

The Rev. J. R. Hill, S.P.G. Missionary at Banda in India, 
writes to me that a relative of his, who died in 1874 aged 83, told 
him that when she was a girl it was a common practice among the 
people of Yapton, near Arundel, Sussex, to bow to the altar before 
entering the pews. This information was given on the occasion of 

1 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, pp. 29-31. 

2 Thomas Sharp, A sermon preached at the opening of the New Chapel of Cornhill 
upon Tweed, on Sunday, July 12, 1752, Newcastle upon Tyne, no date, p. 17. 

s The history of John Bull, ch. viii. (Jon. Swift, Works, ed. Walter Scott, Edin 
burgh, 1814, vol. vi. p. 328). 

4 Pious Country Parishioner, London, Pemberton, 1732, sixth edition, p. 194. 


its being noticed that an old man, much older than Mr. Hill's in 
formant, did not enter his pew before, standing in the centre walk 
of the nave, he had bowed his head to the altar. 

In Devonshire, before " Puseyism" came in, the country people 
" made their reverences on entering and leaving the Church ", 1 


Bowing at the sacred name of Jesus was a practice denounced 
with much warmth by the Puritans, but it had been re-enacted by 
the canons of 1604 as testifying to the belief that Our Lord Jesus 
Christ is the very and eternal Son of God. 2 This Canon has never 
been repealed, so that it is still the law of the Church of England, 
with whatever neglect private persons may presume to treat it. 

Accordingly bowing at the name of Jesus was pressed at the 
early part of the eighteenth century, when Dr. Clarke and his fol 
lowers began to make way in the Church : 

This custom is very useful against the Arians and other enemies of 
our Lord's Divinity ; and therefore never more strictly to be kept up than 
in these days, wherein those enemies abound. 3 

In these days when not only Arianism but pure Deism exists 
among the clergy, it would be a most significant practice if the 
laity would resume this custom as an emphatic declaration of their 
belief in the Divinity of Our Lord. 


It will be noticed how persistent has been the custom in the 
Church of England of turning to the East at the Apostles' Creed 
Towards the end of the nineteenth century certain persons, hangers- 
on to the High Church school, though really unworthy of that 
honoured name, discovered that the custom was only English, and 
they discontinued it in their persons. It was, however, known in 
France, as the following quotation, shown me by the Rev. E. Beres- 
ford Cooke, will decide : 

Pourquoy est-on tourne vers 1'Autel en disant le Credo ? 

1 An Elderly Bachelor, Not many years ago, London, Skeffington, 1898, sec. ed. 
ch. iii. p. 52. 

2 Canon 18. (Edw. Cardwell, Synodalia, Oxford, 1842, vol. i. pp. 172 and 255). 

3 Thomas Bisse, The Beauty of Holiness in the Common Prayer, sec. ed. London, 
Taylor and Innei;. 1721, p. 145, note. 



Pour la meme raison que nous avons dit du, Pater &C. 1 

The work, like so many explanations of ceremonies, is not valu 
able for the reasons which it gives, but for the practices which it 

Speaking of Gloria Patri, Dr. Bisse says : 

(. . . it is a Creed as well as an Hymn) being so often rehearsed in our 
Service, and that alternately by the Minister and People. 2 

Minister and People did not say it together, but by way of ver- 
sicle and respond. This practice seems to have been universal in 
England down to the middle of the nineteenth century, just as it 
still is in France and Italy. It was then discovered to be the "cor 
rect " thing for minister and people to say Gloria Patri all together. 
The Right Reverend Dr. Richardson, late Bishop of Zanzibar, told 
me that when he entered at Merton College in 1863 he found Gloria 
Patri said in the following fashion : Supposing the first psalm to 
be said had an odd number of verses, the officiant would say the 
last verse of the psalm, the college would say Glory be, etc., the 
officiant would say As it was, etc., and the college would begin 
the first verse of the second psalm. This might easily happen at 
morning prayer on the first day of the month. The good bishop 
also informed me that his aunt, hearing this, told him that when 
she was young this was the practice in the parish church. The 
Rev. Arthur Davies, when an undergraduate at Queen's College in 
the same University of Oxford, found that this was also the custom 
in that Society. 

The psalms were thus still said alternately by priest and people ; 
which practice is recorded by writers of the seventeenth and eigh 
teenth centuries. 

This Psalm, \Venite\ and indeed all others, as also the Hymns, ought 
to be answered Verse by Verse with the Minister : And in Cathedrals, 
one side of the Quire to say or sing one Verse ; and the other side the 
other. 3 

1 Raymond Bonal, Explication litterale et mystique des rubriques et ceremonies du 
Breviaire, Lyon, Pierre Valfray, 1679, p. 54. 

2 Thomas Bisse, The beauty of holiness in the Common Prayer, London, Taylor 
and Innys, second edition, 1721, p. 43. 

3 H[enry] C[ornwaleys], Brief Directions for our more Devout Behaviour in Time 
of Divine Service, sec. ed. London, 1693, p. 19. 


So also Wheatly, writing after Cornwaleys, speaks of the alter 
nate recitation of the psalms : 

This practice, so primitive and devout, our Church (though there is no 
particular rubric to enjoin it) still continues in her Service either by sing 
ing, as in our cathedral worship; or by saying, as in the parochial. 1 

When the Spectator was coming out Gloria Patri was evidently 
considered a particularly sacred part of the service ; for the parish 
clerk speaks of a young woman as if she were committing an act 
unusually scandalous by interrupting her devotion while this 
formula was being repeated. 

I have often seen her rise up and smile, and curtsy to one at the 
lower end of the Church in the midst of a Gloria Patri? 

Under Dr. Peploe, Bishop of Chester from 1726 to 1752, there 
began at the Collegiate Church of Manchester, not then a cathedral, 
some attempts at ceremonial of which we have no very accurate 
account. It is unfortunate that we have no description of the 
events but from those hostile to the doings on both sides : for ex 
ample, the Bishop's visitation for the suppression of certain practices, 
and the ceremonies themselves, are only recorded to be ridiculed. 
Thus it is somewhat troublesome to make out what was really done. 
The following extract from Thomas Percival's Letter to the Clergy 
appears to describe in a highly sarcastic manner the turning to the 
East at Gloria Patri. 

And indeed for my own Part I must give way to my Passion, at his 
[Josiah Owen] so foolishly ridiculing those mysterious Ceremonies of bowing 
to the East, &c. What is in that Man's Head ? or is there any Thing in 
it ? when he is so dull that he can't see Religion in the very bowing, and 
much more when the bowing is to the East. For my part I must own I 
was greatly edified at seeing the two Chaplains face to the West, step once, 
face to the North, step again, face to the East, bow, face to the South ; 
* step once, face to the East ; step once, and then face to their Reading 
Desk, at each Gloria Patri, with as regular a Motion, as just a Deportment, 
and as grave an Aspect, as the oldest Veteran in the Army. Nay so exact 
were they in their Discipline, that I could not distinguish any Difference 
of Time in performing the Motions ; only I must for the sake of Truth, 
say, that the lesser [Clayton] has the most religious Bow, and the most 

* JV.J5. The Chaplains being of contrary Sides the facing to North and South is 
vice versa the one to the other. 

1 Charles Wheatly, A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, ch. 
III. sect. ix. 4. ed. G. E. Corrie, Cambridge, 1858, p. 122. 

2 Spectator, No. 284, Friday, January 25, 1711-12. 

12 * 


pious Rowl of his Eyes I ever saw, besides the mysterious Cross he makes 
with his Hands before him. 1 

Clayton was one of the Clergy much influenced by Dr. Deacon, 
the Bishop of the Nonjurors in Manchester; at Oxford in 1733 he 
had been one of John Wesley's friends, who communicated every 
week, and kept the fast days of the Church. 2 At Salford he was 
well known and obtained much support from the generality of the 
clergy. But Percival himself was not free from grave faults and was ill 
qualified to censure Clayton. On one occasion his daughter wrote 
that her father was so ill last week that his recovery was doubted of. 
His disorder was caused by his having been drunk nine days suc 
cessively. 3 The Josiah Owen mentioned by Percival in his first 
line was a presbyterian minister, and Whig journalist. 

The Rev. Arthur Lampen informs me that at Probus in Corn 
wall, where his father, the Rev. John Lampen, was Curate to his 
cousin, the Rev. Robert Lampen, Prebendary of Exeter, the rest of 
the service being of the strictly evangelical type, the people always 
turned to the east and bowed at the Gloria Patri. This was about, or 
soon after, 1828. 

In North Devon, before " Puseyism '* came in, it is said that the 
country folk 

used to turn to the east at every doxology in the ending up of the Psalms, 
and of the Tate and Brady's Version of the Psalms. All the singing time 
they used to face west, staring at the gallery, with its faded green curtains ; 
and then, when the Gloria came, they all turned "right about" and faced 
eastwards. 4 


Immediately after the Restoration we find the practice of saying 
Glory be to thee O Lord before the Gospel continued from earlier times. 
It is spoken of by a musician, familiar with the practice of St. 
Paul's and the Chapel Royal. 

1 A Letter to the Reverend the Clergy of the Collegiate Church of Manchester : 
occasioned by Mr. Owen's Remarks both on Dr. Deacon's Catechism, and on the Con 
duct of some of the Manchester Clergy ; in the Second Edition of his Jacobite and 
Nonjuring Principles freely examin'd. By a Believer in the Doctrines of the Church of 
England, London, J. Robinson, 1748, p. 21. 

2 See below, ch. ix. p. 298. 

3 F. R. Raines and F. Renaud, The fellows of the Collegiate Church of Manchester, 
Chetham Society, 1891, Part ii. p. 255. 

4 An Elderly Bachelor, Not many years ago, London, Skeffington, 1898, ch. iii. sec. 
ed. p. 52. 


The second, or Communion Service. 

After the Epistle, this heavenly Ejaculation, Glory be to thee O Lord. 1 
It is to be found in Cosin's second and third Orders for the Con 
secration of Churches. 2 

There is evidence of the same practice in 1721. 

The first is, that all the Congregation stand up at the reading of them, 
[the gospels] as being the word of the Master ; 

* * * 

Secondly, The other honour paid to the Gospel, was, that after the 
naming of it, all the People standing up, said, Glory be to thee O Lord. 
This usage borrowed from ancient Liturgies our Reformers continued in 
Ours : and tho' afterwards discontinued in the Kubrick, yet custom still 
continues the use of it in most Cathedral and in many Parochial Churches : 
and the voice of Custom is in many cases the voice of Law. 3 

A giving of thanks after the Gospel was also practised. 

The Gospel, which follows, being the Word of our Master himself, we 
are commanded to stand up ; and after it is read, we say an Hallelujah, or, 
We praise thee, O God, for thy Holy Gospel^ 

Wheatly, writing after Cornwaleys, says 

The custom of saying, Glory be to thee, O Lord, when the Minister was 
about to read the Holy Gospel, and of singing Hallelujah, or saying, 
Thanks be to God for his holy Gospel, when he had concluded it, is as old 
as St. Chrysostom ; but we have no authority for it in our present Liturgy. 5 


The following extracts give us some view of what the inhabitants 
of Holborn considered innovations in the first quarter of the eigh 
teenth century. They admit that 

It was the Custom at the Beginning of Queen Elizabeths Reign, for 
the People to stand up at the Gloria Patri, and when the Te Deum, Jubilate, 
and the other Hymns were repeated ; . . . and the Custom for the People to 
say, Glory be to thee, O Lord. 

But now an entirely unnecessary practice had begun of standing 
up at other times : 

1 J. Clifford, Divine Service and Anthems, London, Brome, 1663, Sheet A, 7 v. 
2 J. Wickham Legg, English Orders for consecrating Churches in the seventeenth 
century, Henry Bradshaw Society, 1911, pp. 235 and 253. 

3 Thomas Bisse, The beauty of holiness in the Common Prayer, sec. ed. London, 
Taylor and Innys, 1721, p. 141, iv. Sermon. 

4 H[enry] C[ornwaleys], Brief Directions for our more Devout Behaviour in time 
of Divine Service, second ed. London, 1693, p. 33. 

5 Charles Wheatly, A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, Ch. 
VI, sect. vi. 3, ed. G. E. Corrie, Cambridge, 1858, p. 308. 


They must needs STAND UP at the Reading of the Second Lesson when 
taken out of the Gospels, and also at the Singing of the Psalms, with other 

Complaint is also made of the disturbance caused by people 
rising when the Lord's prayer occurs in the second lesson. And 
the writer insinuates very plainly that those who practise these in 
novations are no good friends to the House of Brunswick. 

You know . . . what sort of People they are who chiefly promote these 
Innovations and are most forward to distinguish themselves by little Cere 
monious Observances ; and you also know what King it is they incline to. 1 

At this time Sacheverell still held the living of St. Andrew's 
Holborn, and his sympathies were with Jacobites and Nonjurors. 
He stood at the door of his church and respectfully saluted Thomas 
Deacon accompanying the prisoners led from Newgate to Tyburn 
for execution after the rising of I7I5. 2 And it must be noticed 
that it was in the parish of St. Andrew's Holborn that there was 
the private oratory in Scrope Court. There Hickes and two 
Scottish bishops continued the Nonjuring succession by consecrating 
Spinckes, Collier, and Hawes to be bishops at large. 3 

Now in the innovations complained of at St. Andrew's Holborn 
we may perhaps be allowed to see the influence of the Dissenting 
Nonjurors in the parish. There can be little doubt of the influence 
of Deacon upon the clergy of the Collegiate Church at Manchester, 
and these innovations such as standing up at the reading of the 
gospel when occurring in the second lesson, which are imitations of 
Greek customs, would be much affected by the Dissenting Non- 
jurors, and even by Churchmen. So we are told by White Kennett 
that some Church people would not go to their seats " till they had 
kneel'd and pray'd at the Rails of the Communion Table ". 4 This 
practice may be looked upon as an imitation of the Oriental custom 
of going to the iconostasis on coming into church, and saluting the 
holy icons. It was a convenient way of damaging a churchman's 
reputation to insinuate that those who were following the greatest 
enemies of Rome were tending Romeward themselves, and more 
allied to the Jacobites than they should be. 

1 A letter to an inhabitant of the Parish of St. Andrew's Holborn, about New Cere 
monies in the Church, sec. ed. London, James Knapton, 1717, pp. 3, 4, 10, 12, 14. 

2 Henry Broxap, A Biography of Thomas Deacon, Manchester, 1911, p. 19. 

3 J. H. Overton, The Nonjurors, London, Smith Elder, 1902, p. 118. 

4 The Life of the Right Reverend Dr. White Kennett, London, Billingsley, 1730, 
p. 126. Letter dated 1716. 



The Greeks do not as a rule kneel in prayer ; but this was not 
the reason which the Presbyterians would have given for their doing 
the like. They looked upon kneeling as a popish practice, to be 
much discouraged. Thus, here and there, after the Restoration, 
there appears the practice of standing during the prayers, as a sur 
vival from the times of the Rebellion. 

Sir Matthew Hale, in his advice to his family, written only in the 
second year after the Restoration, begs them to kneel at the prayers, 
but to stand at the epistle as well as at the gospel, from which mark 
of respect they should abstain if any of the Apocrypha were read. 1 

This would make a very distinct difference between the canon 
ical and deutero-canonical scriptures ; and standing at the epistle 
would put the latter on the same level as the gospel. 

As much as in you lies, endeavour to perswade your Congregation to 
Kneel in the time of Divine Service. ... If they cannot have convenience 
for Kneeling, at least let them stand up at Prayers. 2 

This is the sound advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury to 
the Archdeacons of the diocese of St. Davids in Wales, sede vacante. 

In i/n there is a description of the behaviour of some young 
women at Church. The man complains that 

When the Service began, I had not room to kneel at the Confession, 
but as I stood &c. 3 

When hindered from kneeling, standing was as reverent a posture 
as kneeling, and far better than the sitting and leaning forward 
with head on the desk which is so common now, and of which we 
hear complaints in the eighteenth century, as we shall see a little 
later on. 

The Spectator soon after takes notice of the behaviour of a young 
woman at Church that " one thing indeed was particular, she stood 
the whole Service, and never kneeled or sat " : 4 but she was a co 
quette, and her object in coming to church does not seem to 
have been that for which the church was established. 

1 [Matthew Hale,] Contemplations Moral and Divine, London, Shrewsbury, 1676, in 
Directions for keeping the Lord's Day, p. 87. 

2 His Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Letter to the Reverend the Arch- 
Deacons and the rest of the Clergy of the Diocese of St. David, London, 1703, p. 15. 

3 Spectator, No. 53, Tuesday, May i, 1711. 

4 ibid. No. 503, Tuesday, October 7, 1712. In No. 515 she is called plainly a 


And the same year the Spectator seems to have heard a sermon 
preached against standing during the prayers : 

On Sunday last, one, who shall be nameless, reproving several of his 
Congregation for standing at Prayers, was pleased to say l &c. 

Standing in prayer being part of the relics of Puritanism was 
therefore disliked by the clergy ; as putting on the hat in church out 
of service time was a following of the presbyterians. Standing up 
during prayers had not become quite extinct even in the nineteenth 
century. It has been inferred because it is said of an officer in church 
that he kneeled, that the rest of the congregation, or the officers, sat 
during the prayers. 2 But this is not a legitimate inference. The 
likelihood is that many of the congregation early in the nineteenth 
century stood during the prayers : a very seemly and decent posture, 
if not adopted from fanaticism ; and it is quite primitive. In the 
middle of the nineteenth century I can remember old half-pay offi 
cers who stood with their hats before their faces during prayer time. 
They did not mean to be irreverent. To this day in Italy one may 
see men devoutly hearing mass, yet standing. 

There was even in our period a much more undesirable practice 
than that of standing at the prayers, namely sitting, or leaning for 
ward while sitting : 

While these Prayers are reading we ought devoutly to continue upon 
our Knees; not sitting, nor in any other slothful Posture, as too many 
profanely and irreverently do. 3 

At Naples in 1908 I found some Italians adopting this "devo 
tional attitude " during mass, if only a second chair were near. 


Early in Charles the Second's reign they had the custom of 
playing a voluntary after the psalms, and this passed on into the 
rest of our period. In Clifford's book we read : 

The first Service in the morning. 
After the Psalms a Voluntary upon the Organ alone, 
and again : 

1 Spectator, No. 455, Tuesday, August 12, 1712. 

2 A Memoir of Jane Austen, by her nephew, J. E. Austen Leigh, Bentley, 1870, 
p. 23. 

3 Directions for a Devout and Decent Behaviour in the Public Worship of God, thir 
tieth ed. S.P.C.K. [? 1750] p. 18. 


After the Blessing, i. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ &c. a Volun 
tary alone upon the Organ. 1 

In 1714 the Spectator approves of the voluntary after the 
psalms : 

Methinks there is something very laudable in the Custom of a Volun 
tary before the first lesson. 2 

And the custom remained for near a century after. 

The Voluntary before the First Lesson. 
This practice common in all churches which have an organ. 3 


it is hardly worth while to stay and prove how much organs 
were hated by the Puritans. This will be accepted by all. 
Organs began to be played again in churches immediately after the 
Restoration. Within a month of the King's return the organs at 
Whitehall began again. On June 17, 1660 Mr. Pepys records: 

This day the organs did begin to play at White Hall before the King. 

On July 15, 1 66 1 he writes at Cambridge : 

Then to King's College chappell, where I found the scholars in their 
surplices at the service with the organs, which is a strange sight to what 
it used in my time to be here. 

At Rochester he had been on April 10 in the same year, and 
found " the organ then a-tuning". 

It was ordered for the King's chapels on Dec. 13, 1663 that 

of the three Organistes two shall ever attend, one at the organ, the other 
in his surplice in the quire. 4 

At the consecration on St. Peter's day 1665 of the new chapel 
at Auckland the organist was directed more than once to play " a 
still verse". 5 

On April 4, 1667 Mr. Pepys says : 

To Hackney . . . here I was told that at their church they have a fair 

*J. Clifford, Divine Services and Anthems, London, 1663, Signature A. 7. 

2 Spectator, No. 630, Wednesday, December 8, 1714. 

3 Richard Warner, Book of Common Prayer, 1806. Note to morning prayer, first 

4 The Old Cheque Book, ed. Rimbault, Camden Society, 1872, New Series III, p. 

5 J. Wickham Legg, English Orders for Consecrating Churches in the Seventeenth 
Century, Henry Bradshaw Society, 191 1, p. 231. 


pair of organs, which play while the people sing, which I arn mighty glad 
of, wishing the like at our church at London. 

Here Mr. Pepys' love of music got the better of his presby- 

After the fire in the City in 1666 there seems to have been some 
delay in furnishing the new churches with organs. From the lists, 
most likely not complete, given in 1708, the number of churches with 
organs would seem to be under thirty. 1 It is quite possible that 
the parishioners, taxed to their utmost to build a new church, would 
be ready to wait awhile before providing what is more or less of a 
luxury in public worship. 

Still in 1714 it is said that 

most Churches and Chappels are adorned with very good Organs^ which 
accompany the Singing of Psalms^ and play Voluntaries to the assemblies 
as they go out of the Churches. 2 

In the same year the Spectator mentions the voluntary after the 
psalms as a laudable practice. 3 

Where the parish clerk was so much upset by the misbehaviour 
of a young lady in curtsying to her lover that he wandered out of 
the tune of the Old Hundredth into Southwell Tune and Windsor 
Tune, there could have been no organ to keep him from straying. 4 

Yet so late as the beginning of the second quarter of the 
eighteenth century, the Puritans did their best to hinder the in 
troduction of organs. 

1724-5 Feb. 14, Sun. 

Notwithstanding the Clamours (mentioned above, p. 58, &c.) of many 
of St. Peter's Parish in the East, Oxford, against the Organ offered them 
by the University, yet the wisest Part of them came to a resolution, in op 
position to the rest, to accept of it, and contribute towards a Place in 
which it should be fix'd, and accordingly, a Place being prepared, the 
Organ was translated Yesterday in the Afternoon, St. Marie's and St. 
Peter's Bells ringing all the time. 5 

Even near the end of the eighteenth century an organ was not 
always part of the church or chapel furniture. 

We have got a Seat in Duke Street Chapel. I should have preferred 
a Church with an Organ in it. 6 

1 A New View of London, in two volumes, 1708. 

2 A journey through England in familiar letters, etc. London, 1714, vol. i. p. 202. 

3 See above, p. 185. 4 Spectator, No. 284, January 25, 1712. 

5 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1907, vol. 
viii. p. 334. 

6 The Girlhood of Maria Josepha Holroyd, ed. by Jane H. Adeane, Longmans, 1896, 
p. 9. Letter dated March, 1784. 


In John Shepherd's book on the Common Prayer he remarks of 
the organ that 

the want cannot be supplied by any other kind of instrumental music. 
Violins, bassoons, flutes, etc. ought to be entirely excluded. 1 

But early in the nineteenth century organs must have become 
almost universal in English churches : a rough ignorant fellow de 
fined the Church of England to be a " large building with an organ 
in it". 2 

There are many other incidental notes of organs in churches in 
these pages, which it is hoped may be found by looking in the index. 


Of the music performed in the churches we have no very full 
account. It is not likely to have been good in the country churches, 
except perhaps in Yorkshire and Lancashire, where it was made a 

The famous author of Brown's Estimate writes thus of the 
Church Music of his time : 

But while we justly admire the sacred Poetry of our Cathedral Service, 
must we not lament the State of it in our parochial Churches, where the 
cold, the meagre, the disgusting Dulness of STERNHOLD and his Companions, 
hath quenched all the poetic Fire and devout Majesty of the royal Psalmist. 

* * * 

Our parochial Music, in general, is solemn and devout : Much better 
calculated for the Performance of a whole Congregation, than if it were 
more broken and elaborate. In Country Churches, wherever a more 
artificial Kind hath been imprudently attempted, Confusion and Dissonance 
are the general Consequence. 

* * * 

The Performance of our parochial Psalms, though in the Villages it be 
often as mean and meagre as the Words that are sung ; yet in great Towns, 
where a good Organ is skilfully and devoutly employed by a sensible 
Organist, the Union of this Instrument with the Voices of a well-instructed 
Congregation, forms one of the grandest Scenes of unaffected Piety that 
human Nature can afford. The Reverse of this appears, when a Company 
of illiterate People form themselves into a Choir distinct from the Congre 
gation. Here devotion is lost, between the impotent Vanity of those who 
sing, and the ignorant Wonder of those who listen? 

1 John Shepherd, A critical and Practical Elucidation of the Book of Common 
Prayer, London, Rivington, 1817, third ed. vol. i. p. 304. 

2 D. C. Lathbury, Correspondence on Church and Religion of William Ewart Glad 
stone, London, Murray, 1910, vol. i. p. 2. 

3 John Brown, Vicar of Newcastle, A Dissertation on . . . Poetry and Music, 
London, Davis and Reymers, 1763, p, 213. 


At Selby Abbey, in 1751, Dr. Pococke, an Irish bishop, notes: 

This town is no corporation, and has neither clergyman nor justice of 
the peace in it. They chant all their service, except the litany ; and the 
clerk goes up to the Communion table and stands on the Epistle side to 
make the responses, and they sing well not only the psalms but anthems. 1 

The expression Epistle side is unusual in England at this 
period. As Dr. Pococke was an Irish bishop he may have heard 
the phrase used by Roman Catholics in Ireland. The function of 
the parish clerk may also be noted. 

At a Berkshire village, Welford, in 1770 the church music is 

I may here mention that at Welford their manner of singing Psalms is 
particularly pleasing. The tunes are solemn but exceedingly melodious. 
Mr. Archer's Steward, honest John Heath leads the set, with as agreeable 
a voice as I ever heard. The game keeper plays upon the Hautboy, and 
the gardener upon the Bassoon, and these, joined to eight or ten voices, 
form a Harmony that strikes the attention most amazingly. 2 

Dr. Home, the Bishop of Norwich, while Dean of Canterbury 
states that 

In England, choral service was first introduced in this cathedral, and the 
practice of it long confined to the churches of Kent, from whence it became 
gradually diffused over the whole kingdom. 3 

More than twenty years after Dr. Brown, Dr. Vincent, who later 
on was Dean of Westminster, describes some part of the church 
music and the musicians. He says that in his time there were certain 
churches and chapels where they appropriated a band of singers " to 
chant the Psalms, Te Deum, &c. and who are competent enough to 
perform an Anthem with sufficient accuracy ". These chapels, he tells 
us in a note, were Portland Chapel, the Octagon Chapel at Bath, 
now, in the twentieth century, turned into a furniture warehouse, and 
some churches, he adds uncertainly, in Lancashire ; but here I have 
reason for thinking he was well informed as to the chanting of the 
psalms. He speaks highly of the Methodists' Music, and adds that 
" for one who has been drawn away from the Established Church by 
Preaching, ten have been induced by Music ". 4 

1 The travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. J. J. Cartwright, 
Camden Society, 1888, vol. i. p. 173. 

2 Lady Alice Archer Houblon, The Houblon Family, Constables, 1907, vol. ii. p. 145. 

3 George Home, Discourse II. on Church Music, in Works ed. by William Jones , 
Rivington, 1818, vol. iv. p. 25. 

4 William Vincent, Considerations on Parochial Music, London, 1787, pp. 10 and 14. 
A second edition appeared in 1790. 



It is much to be desired that the faithful should join their voices 
to the praises of God and to those parts of the service which they are 
bidden to say with the minister ; but a bad practice surviving even 
to our time had arisen in the eighteenth century or earlier of following 
in an undertone the prayers set apart for the priest. Thus the 
Spectator dislikes 

the Disturbance some People give to others at Church, by their Repe 
tition of the Prayers after the Minister, and that not only in the Prayers, but 
also the Absolution and the Commandments fare no better, which are in a 
particular manner the Priest's Office. 1 

So many complaints throughout our period are made of this 
practice that it has not been possible, even if desirable, to note all 
that have been met with. It was also common in the mid-nineteenth 

James Ford, writing about 1825, notes it. 

When the Service begins, with your eye and not with your voice, reap 
along with the Minister ; but never pretend to use any other prayers or medi 
tations, whilst he is offering the prayers of the Church . . . what can be 
more improper than to hear them promiscuously absolve themselves and 
one another and thus take the Priestly office on themselves? 2 

This disagreeable practice of saying the words of the service after 
the minister is not characteristic of Englishmen. In 1908, on Easter 
Even, at Naples, the man kneeling next to me followed aloud the 
blessing of the priest at the end of mass, and other parts of the 
Latin service which he knew by heart. 


The Puritans, it will be generally acknowledged, thought that the 
hearing of sermons was the main purpose of going to church ; and 
inconsistently enough, such was their love of sermons, if they could 
hear a Church of England sermon without attending the Church of 
England service they would do so. There is an instance of this at 
Canterbury in 1640 when they complain of the sermon being no 
longer preached in the Sermon House, as they call the Chapter 
House, but in the Quire, so " that all that will partake of the Sermon, 
should of necessitie partake of their Cathedrall-Ceremonious- Altar 
Service ". 3 

1 Spectator, No. 236. Friday, November 30, 1711. 

2 James Ford, The new devout Communicant, Ipswich, 1825, p. 82. 

3 Richard Culmer, Cathedrall News from Canterbury, London, Clifton, 1644, p. 2. 


After the Restoration there seems to have been a return to this 
practice in the North. At the Visitation of his diocese in 1703 by 
Dr. William Nicolson, Bishop of Carlisle, he found at Ravenstondale 
a Saints-Bell, and the Bishop was told that " this Bell used to be 
rung in the Conclusion of the Nicene Creed ; to call in Dissenters 
to Sermon ". 1 They would not then be offended, either, by the sight 
of a surplice. Can this have been one of the motives for preaching 
the sermon in the black gown, and not in the surplice? 

It seems possible that this relic of Puritanism survived late in 
Yorkshire ; for a description of the Sunday morning service written, it 
is pretended, before the battle of Waterloo, but plainly later, makes 
the Sunday school children in a Yorkshire parish come to church 
after the Litany and before the Communion service. 2 It is more 
likely to be a relic of Puritanism than a humane wish not to fatigue 
the children with over-long devotions. 

Sir William Blackstone entered the Middle Temple in 1741 and 
there is this tradition of his experience : 

The sermons which Blackstone heard, when he came as a young man 
to London, were, he has told us, below the standard of the morality of 
Plato or Cicero. He himself gave it as his opinion, that, for all that they 
contained of religion, it would have been hard to say whether the preacher 
believed in the Koran, the Talmud, or the Bible. 3 

These statements of Blackstone are said to be based upon 
recollections of the table talk of Sir Robert Inglis. There is con 
firmation of this in the paragraphs that follow. 

How dissatisfied during our period churchmen were with the 
Whigs may be seen by a tract designed to show the variance be 
tween the book of Common Prayer and the Sermons of the 
Latitudinarians, such as Blackstone may have heard. 4 The tract 
appeared in 1 767, and in numerous editions later on, of which the 
last that I have been able to trace was printed at Lancaster in 
1817. The Pulpit and the Reading Desk converse together. The 
Reading Desk says to the Pulpit : 

You have long been my sore Enemy, a public and private Foe to me, 
and the whole congregation ; and if it be considered, the Harm we have 

1 Miscellany Accounts of the Diocese of Carlile-^ ... by William Nicolson late 
Bishop of Carlisle, edited by R. S. Ferguson, Cumberland Antiq. and Arch. Soc. London, 
Bell, 1877, p. 42. 

2 [Charlotte Bronte] Currer Bell, Shirley, ch. xxxiv. 

8 John Campbell Colquhoun, William Wilberforce ; his friends and his times, 
Longmans, 1866, p. no, ch. vi. on Hannah More. 

4 A dialogue between the Pulpit and Reading Desk, London, W. Nicoll, 1767. 


all sustained, it would appear what Favour has been shewn you in not 
stripping off your Gown, driving you out of the Church, and leaving you to 
follow another kind of Business. The Evil you have done, I am sure the 
whole World can never repair. 1 

The Whig shows how little he cares for the solemn assent and 
consent that he has given to the Book of Common Prayer, or re 
gards the teaching of antiquity : 

PULPIT. Some have, indeed, great Veneration for the Fathers ; but for 
my -part, I have not. I prefer the Authority of later Times, and depend 
most on the Judgment of modern Authors. 

On the next page Pulpit makes some remarks depreciating the 
Bible. The Reading Desk asks in horror : 

READING DESK. The word of God a stale unpolished Piece of Anti 
quity ? 2 

As to the assent given at Subscription. 

PULPIT. I look on the Words as mere Form ; and I used them only 
as a necessary Step to Preferment. 

DESK. So, in order to get clear of Enthusiasm, you are not ashamed 
to own yourself a Hypocrite. Who do you think will ever trust you again, 
when you can so readily speak one thing and mean another ? 

PULPIT. I regard nothing you are pleased to think of me. The 
Multitude is on my Side, not yours. 3 

The cynic may remark that the history of the eighteenth century 
repeats itself in the twentieth. 

This little book that went through so many editions may be 
looked upon as an important and interesting testimony to the value 
widely set upon the Prayer Book in the eighteenth century as a 
protection against latitudinarianism, and the low standard of morals 
involved in a repetition with the mouth of formulae that are not be 
lieved in the heart. Even a prae-Christian poet had a higher sense 
of honour. His notion of duty was to hate as one would the gates 
of hell the man who concealed one thing in his heart and uttered 
another. 4 The disgust which the laity felt at the behaviour of these 
men is attested by the wide circulation, during fifty years, of the 
little tract, which can hardly be accounted for if the readers were 
confined to the clergy. The unhappy state to which those were re 
duced who clung to their preferments in the Established Church 
instead of going out into the wilderness was thus described in the 
nineteenth century : 

M dialogue between the Pulpit and Reading Desk, London, W. Nicoll, 1767, p. 4. 
*ibid. pp. 17, 18. s ibid. p. 65. 4 Iliad, ix. 313. 


They were compelled Sunday after Sunday, to affirm in their reading 
desk what they contradicted in their pulpit. 1 

What a position ! But the importance of keeping up the fixed 
standard of orthodoxy that has come down from antiquity is hereby 
made evident enough. And this scandalous state of affairs lasted to 
the end of the century. For S. T. Coleridge, when a Unitarian 
minister at Shrewsbury, describes clergy and laity as being divided 
into two camps : 

The Parsons of the Church of England, many of them, Unitarians and 
democrats and the People hot-headed Aristocrats this is curious, but it 
is true. 2 

So in the twentieth century. It is to the Houses of Laymen 
that we look to save the Church, not to the Convocation. 

In Dr. Johnson's time, too, the sermons cannot have been good 
when this devoted Churchman could speak of the preaching in such 
terms as these : 

I am convinced (said he to a friend) I ought to be present at divine 
service more frequently than I am ; but the provocations given by ignor 
ant and affected preachers too often disturb the mental calm which other 
wise would succeed to prayer. I am apt to whisper to myself on such 
occasions How can this illiterate fellow dream of fixing attention, after 
we have been listening to the sublimest truths, conveyed in the most 
chaste and exalted language, throughout a Liturgy which must be regarded 
as the genuine offspring of piety impregnated by wisdom ? 8 

Goldsmith, not so pious a son of the Church as Johnson, yet 
complains of the English preachers : " Their discourses from the 
pulpit are generally dry, methodical, and unaffecting ; delivered 
with the most insipid calmness, " 4 and he then recommends the 
French preachers as an example. 

In the early nineteenth century an Edinburgh Reviewer opens 
an article on Dr. Kennel's sermons thus : 

We have no modern sermons in the English language that can be con 
sidered very eloquent. . . . The great object of modem sermons, is to 
hazard nothing : Their characteristic is decent debility. 5 

1 [William John] Conybeare, Church Parties, An Essay reprinted from the Edin 
burgh Review, No. CC. for October, 1853. Longmans, 1854, P- 4- 

2 Letter of S. T. Coleridge, British Museum, No. 29, Jan. 16, 1798. (Guide to the 
Exhibited Manuscripts, Part i. 1912, p. 70.) 

8 Anecdotes by George Steevens, in Johnsonian Miscellanies, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, 
Oxford, 1897, vol. ii. p. 319. 

4 O. Goldsmith, Essays, iv. Globe edition of Works, Macmillan, 1869, p. 294. 
6 Edinburgh Review, Edinb. 1803, vol. i. p. 83. 


Against this we may set Dr. Church's account of the sermons 
delivered, by the old High Church school, in the first third of the 
nineteenth century, just before the Tractarian movement began. 1 


One or two oddnesses in the services may be spoken of here 
for want of a better place. 

There appears to have been a curious state of affairs in Spital- 
fields in which Sir George Wheler, the Canon of Durham, is con 
cerned. He had the reputation of being a high-churchman ; but 
his acts if rightly reported do not much support this claim. Things 
seem to have beer} done in a strange way. What was the Wicker 
Basket or the Glass vessel for the elements at Communion ? What 
explanation is there of giving the Eucharist to the unbaptized? 
And is the "conformable Curate" the Luke Milbourne of the Dun- 
dad? The Tabernacle is that spoken of by Paterson as " The Taber 
nacle in White Lion yard, and facing Wheeler Street in Spittle^Ulds. 
It's commonly called Wheelers Chapel, because it was built by Sir 
George Wheeler Prebendary of Durham'' 

The Inhabitants of the Hamlet of Spittle-fields, Petition'd the Honourable 

House of Commons. 

# # # 

XI. We are not much verst in Rubricks or Canons. But we are sure 
there are none for Praying before Sermon with the Face to the People till 
the concluding Lord 's Prayer, and turning the Back, and repeating that towards 
the Altar. No Kubrick enjoins us to begin Divine Service with Singing 
Psalms, or to Use four in one Morning Service. No Kubrick ever order'd 
the Wicker Basket or Glass Vessels, or the Time of the Clarks bringing them 
at the Communion, or to read the Exhortation when the People are negligent, 
from the Pulpit after Sermon, when solemn notice of the Communion had been 
given from the Desk, at the proper Time before. No Kubrick ever order'd 
the Priest to leave out the Gloria Deo in Excelsis after the Communion. 
Nor to Sing a Psalm after Morning Sermon, while the Priest leaves the 
Pulpit to put on the Surplice again, to read the Prayer for the Church 
Militant at the Communion Table. No Kubrick allows to give the Eucha 
rist to a Person unbaptized, and to defend the Action afterward in a Ser 
mon, Nor to abuse the Hearers from the Pulpit, because they could not under 
stand Nonsense in the Chamber. Not to call it an Insolent Affront to be 
soberly desired, by a Priest of more than twice a Man's own Standing, to 
Review and consider again an /// Worded Discourse (to call it no worse) 
concerning the greatest Mystery of our Faith. No Kubrick teaches us to 
forget the Athanasian Creed day after day, tho' admonish'd of it, when 

1 See above, ch. i. p. 15, 


requir'd. Nor to Collect Money for the Poor at the Tabernacle- Door, and 
refuse the Church- Warden an Account of the Disposal of it j And, because 
there are no Rules nor Kubricks for these things, We remember not that 
Mr. Milbourne our Conformable Curate even did them, and if he should, 
we should approve them as little in Him as in any Other Person whatsoever. 1 

At the end of the seventeenth century these things described 
may have shocked the faithful accustomed to law and order. Now 
adays we are all accustomed to the omission of Gloria in excelsis 
on certain days by one set of people, and of the Athanasian Creed 
on others by a second set, both equally lawless. But it is a good 
thing to find complaint made of the multitude of singing psalms, 
or, as we have them to-day, of metrical hymns. 

In the foregoing extract there is mentioned the carrying of the 
elements to the altar in a wicker basket, as something reprehensible. 
One has seen the pain benit carried about a French church in a 
basket, and distributed thence to the faithful, but the two cases are 
not precisely similar. More akin is the following, from a church in 
Ireland, held up to scorn in a Roman Catholic journal. 

The old Church of St. John the Baptist, Headford (co. Galway) is now 
in a very dilapidated condition and the new incumbent is putting forth an 
effort for its restoration. In this church during the last incumbency the 
elements for Holy Communion used to be carried from the vestry up to the 
Communion table in an old clothes-basket covered with a patchwork quilt? 

The Rev. Henry Austin Wilson has suggested to me an 
analogue of this wicker basket. In the inventory of Andrewes 
Chapel there is a "Canistor for the wafers like a wicker basket, and 
lined with Cambrick laced". 3 

Another complaint by parishioners appears in the first quarter 
of the eighteenth century. In 1717 the inhabitants of Kew-Green 
were much displeased with their minister on several counts. He 
does not catechise, and gives no account of the sacrament money. 
They want service on Wednesday and Friday, not said by a Deacon, 
for so they " are deprived of the Benefit of Absolution," and they 
desire the whole of the Exhortation to Communion to be read the 
Sunday before. As he is non-resident they cannot have baptism 

1 A Vindication of the Case of Spittle-Fields, against an Uncharitable Paper, pri 
vately Printed, called a True Narrative of the Case of Sir George Wheler etc. Humbly 
offered to the Honourable House of Commons. [1694 ?] 

2 Quoted in a letter to the Tablet, July 21, 1888, p. 97. 

3 J. Wickham Legg, English Orders for Consecrating Churches, Henry Bradshaw 
Society, 1911, p. Ixix. 


when a child is in danger of death, or the blessed sacrament in the 
latest hours of extremity. 1 

Their complaints all show a good Church tone. Contrasted with 
the indifference nowadays, whether children shall die unbaptized, 
or the grown-up parishioners without communion, we have an 
edifying glimpse into the family surroundings in Church matters 
during our period. Throughout the eighteenth century it will be 
noticed, in descriptions of death-beds, how careful, in most cases, 
the faithful are that communion shall be administered to the dying. 


Next to say somewhat of funeral customs and rites. 
Evelyn notes on May .13, 1680 a piece of asceticism worthy of 
La Trappe : 

old Mr. Shish, master shipwright of his Majesty's Yard here, an honest 
and remarkable man, and his death a public losse ... It was the costome 
of this good man to rise in the night, and to pray, kneeling in his own 
coffin, which he had lying by him for many yeares. 

Eleven years after the Restoration we find the following account 
of the posies of evergreens distributed at funerals, and the doles 
given to the tenants and poor in Westmoreland. 

October 7, 1671, Mrs. Agnes Dudley dying at Yainwith-hall Oct. 5, 
1671, early in the morning; she was buryed in Barton-church Oct. 7, 71, 
& before her corps was carryed out of the house, the gentry had given each 
of them, Posys of Lawrell and Rosemary, Bisketts and burnt Claret-wine, 
and Papers of Sweetmeats ; Their servants had given them Bisketts and 
burned Clared-wine. Her Tenants & their wifes had bread & cheese. 
And the Poor had 2d a peice given them, which Doal came to 08. 05. o6. 2 

There is the same carrying of evergreens in a neighbouring 
county. Bourne, speaking of the decent custom, that had come 
down from antiquity, of following the corpse to the grave, notes 

as this Form of Procession is an Elmblem of our dying shortly after 
our Friend, so the carrying of Ivy, or Laurel, or Rosemary, or some of 
those Ever-Greens, is an Emblem of the Soul's Immortality. 

This bearing of green boughs seems to have been a general 
custom in the North if not in all England. Of the practice of 

1 The case and complaint in the year 1717 of the then Inhabitants of Kew-Grcen 
against Mr. Thomas Fogg, London, 1743. 

2 J. R. Magrath, The Flemings in Oxford, Oxford Historical Society, 1913, vol. ii. 
p. 310. 



accompanying the corpse to the church with psalms, he suggests 
that it was not so universal, for he says : 

There is another Custom used in some places, at the Procession of 
Funerals, which pays a due Honour to the Dead, and gives Comfort and 
Consolation to the Living ; and that is, the carrying out the Dead with 
Psalmody. 1 

From a letter written by Mr. Henry Gandy, Hearne reports as 
follows : 

Mr. John Kettlewell (he says) dy'd on Friday; the 12 of April, 1695, 
was bury'd in the Parish Church of Barkin (in the same Grave in which 
Archbishop Laud was layd) on the i5th day of the same Month, the Right 
Reverend Bishop of Bath and Wells (Dr. Tho. Kenn) performing the 
Office in his Lawn Sleeves. He read the Confession and Absolution, then 
the proper Psalms in the Office for buriall of the Dead, after that the 
Magnificat, then part of the i5th Chapter of the ist. Ep. to the Corinthians, 
the Lesson appointed. Then read the Evening Service, pray'd for the 
King and the Queen's, &c. 2 

Sir John Morden, Baronet, the founder of Morden College, who 
died in 1708, left in his will the direction that he was to be buried 
" without Pomp or Singing Boys; but: decently". 3 

A member of the Society for the Reformation of Manners was 
barbarously murdered by three private soldiers in 1708. 

He was accompanied to his Grave with about 30 Constables and 
Beadles, and between 20 and 30 of the Reverend Clergy, all going before 
his Corpse; and 12 Justices of the P-eace holding up the Pall, and im 
mediately following it, and a great Train of other Gentlemen of Quality, 
and among them some Aldermen of the City ; and lastly, above a Thousand 
worthy Citizens and others conducting him to his Grave. It was a Sight, 
said the aforesaid Preacher, at which, he was persuaded, the Powers of 
Darkness did tremble. 4 

The funeral was at St. Clement Danes and the sermon preached 
by the Rev. Thomas Bray, D.D. 

Sir Richard Hoare's funeral on January 13, 1718-19 was attended 

by the Governours of Christ's Hospital and the Blue Coat Boys, walking 
before in Procession, singing of Psalms. 5 

1 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, pp. 19, 22. 

2 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, vol. viii. 
p. 256. 

3 John Stow, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, ed. John Strype, 
London, 1720, Vol. I. book i. ch. xxvii. p. 220. 

4 ibid. Vol. II. book v. ch. iii. p. 32. 

5 Remarks and Collections of Tkomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1902, 
vol. vi. p. 289. 


and at Lady Holford's funeral, at the beginning of November in 

the Blew- Coat Boys belonging to Christ - Hospital walk'd before the 
Corps in Procession, singing of Psalms, and 27 Clergymen attended at the 
Funeral. 1 

Some time it would seem after 1710 Samuel Wesley, the father 
of John Wesley, recommends the suppression of " the new custom 
of burying by candlelight ". 2 This very likely was an imitation by 
the poor of their richer neighbours. 

Hearne describes Lord Stafford's funeral at Westminster Abbey 
on May 19, 1719. He was buried in 

a Coffin covered with Crimson Velvet and drawn in an open Charriot, 
followed by a prodigious Number of Mourning Coaches and Lights. 8 

and on March n, 1720-1 he says of the Duke of Buckingham 
shire's funeral 

In the Abbey they were received by the Dean and Chapter in their 
Copes, the whole Choir, in their Surplices, singing before the Corpse. 4 

At the funeral of King George the Second, the Dean and 
Prebendaries were in their copes, attended by the choir, all having 
wax tapers in their hands. 5 

At the Duke of Gloucester's funeral in 1805, the choir and 
clergy attended, each holding a wax light. 

In 1732 at the funeral of the senior bencher of Gray's Inn at 
St. Andrew's Holborn there were provided amongst other things : 

8 Large Plate Candlesticks on stands round the body. i. o. o. 

43 Ibs. of Wax Lights and Tapers at 2/8 5. 14. 8. 

100 white wax branch lights, and 100 men in mourning to carry them 
at 5/6. 27. 10. 7 

Pope, describing the sumptuous funeral of a miser, says : 

When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend 
The wretch, who living sav'd a candle's end. 8 

1 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1902, 
vol. vii. p. 189. 

2 A. F. Messiter, Notes on Epworth Parish Life in the Eighteenth Century, Elliot 
Stock, 1912, p. ii. 

3 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1906, 
vol. vii. p. ii. 

4 ibid. p. 226. 5 Annual Register, 1760, Chronicle, p. 181, London, 7th ed. 1783. 
6 ibid. 1805, Chronicle, p. 416, August. 

'Quoted in R. E. C. Waters, Parish Registers in England, London, Roberts, 1883, 
P- 53- 

8 A. Pope, Moral Essays, III. 291. 


In 1746 there is an account of a sham funeral, six Ghosts all 
in white with wax tapers in their hands. 1 

Speaking of her funeral and lying in state Mrs. Montagu re 
marks : " The torches and the crowd about my dead body would 
give me neither light nor amusement ". 2 

In 1769 about January 14 it is recorded that Mrs. Mead, the 
mother of Jack Wilkes' wife, had died, and that the corpse was 
" attended to the grave by 116 men carrying lights". 3 

In 1821, a clergyman speaking of the funerals in his parish says : 

I believe it now very rarely happens that a funeral does not take place 
by day-light, except in cases where persons have died of the small-pox, or 
any other infectious disorder. I found my parishioners, at my first coming 
to my parish, inclined to make them latish, and, once, candles were brought 
in to give the singers light to see the words of their psalm. 4 

But the parson managed to put a stop to this. It seems more 
likely that these " psalms " were Sternhold and Hopkins rather 
than the ritual psalms of the Order for the Burial of the Dead. 

Beau Nash, "the King of Bath," died on February 3, 1761, and 
thus the ceremonies at his funeral are described : 

About five the procession moved from his house : The charity-girls, 
two and two preceded; next the boys of the Charity-School, singing a 
solemn occasional hymn ; next a large band of music, sounding at proper 
intervals a dirge ; three clergymen immediately preceded the coffin. 6 

We are not often told when the funeral sermon was preached ; but 
at Dr. Parr's funeral 

A sermon was also preached by the Rev. Dr. Butler, Vicar of Kenil- 
worth and Head Master of Shrewsbury School. This was introduced after 
the reading of the lesson. 6 

A suicide is traditionally said to be buried with a stake in the 
body. There is a record of such at Epworth in 1791 or 1792. 
A woman named Poll Pilsworth had poisoned some children, and 
being found out she poisoned herself. 

The people would not permit her to be buried in the churchyard. 
The inhabitants were all in a muster about this poisoning, not knowing 

1 British Magazine for the year 1746, vol. i. p. 282. 

2 Elizabeth Montagu, The Queen of the Bluestockings, ed. Emily J. Climenson, 
Murray, 1906, vol. ii. p. 202. 

3 Annual Register, 1769, January 14, Chronicle, p. 66. 

4 Medicina Clerica, London, Seeley, 1821, p. 136. 

5 New Bath Guide, 1784, p. 63. 

6 New Monthly Magazine, 1825, Part iii. p. 185. 


where it would end. She [Mrs. Ingram, the witness] saw the coffin taken 
on the sledge. She was in the crowd, and could not get close to the grave. 
They drove two stakes through the body. She (Mrs. Ingram) saw them 
lift the mell, or big hammer, " to drive the stakes through her, poor thing ! " l 

In N.E.D. mellis defined as a heavy hammer or beetle of metal 
or wood ; cf. malleus or mallet. 

A later instance is recorded in 1812, in the description of the 
burial of a murderer and suicide : 

The stake was immediately driven through the body, amidst the 
shouts and vociferous execrations of the multitude, and the hole filled up 
and well rammed down. 2 

The practice of burying a suicide in the cross-roads continued 
till 1823 : a son had murdered his father and then killed himself. 

The warrant for the interment of the unfortunate parricide in the cross 
road was issued by the coroner . . . [the grave was] at the cross-road 
formed by Eaton Street, Grosvenor Place, and the King's road. 3 

A graduate of the University of Oxford, a layman, has suggested 
to me that in view of the increase of suicide in these latter days, it 
is almost a matter for regret that all signs of horror at the crime 
have been discontinued at the burial. 

About 1730 a resident in the Isle of Man made these notes : 

When a Person dies, several of his Acquaintance come to sit up with 
him, which they call the Wake. The Clerk of the Parish is obliged to 
sing a Psalm, in which all the Company join ; . . . The Procession of 
carrying the Corps to the Grave, is in this manner : When they come with 
in a Quarter of a Mile of the Church, they are met by the Parson, who 
walks before them singing a Psalm, all the Company joining with him. In 
every Church-Yard there is a Cross, round which, they go three Times, 
before they enter the Church. 4 

In Wales in the eighteenth century, a bishop of St. Asaph notes : 

The night before a dead body is to be interred, the friends and neigh 
bours of the deceased resort to the house the corpse is in, each bringing 
with him some small present of meat, bread, or drink, (if the family be some* 
thing poor,) but more especially candles, whatever the family is ; and this 
night is called w$l nos, whereby the country people seem to mean a watching 
night. Their going to such a house they say is i wilio corph^ i.e., to watch 

1 A. F. Messiter, Notes on Epworth Parish Life in the Eighteenth Century, Elliot 
Stock, 1912, p. 79. 

2 Annual Register, 1812, London, Rivington, 1825, Chronicle, p. 4.* 
s lbid. 1823, Chronicle, p. 142.* 

4 George Waldron, A Description of the Isle of Man, contained in Compleat Works, 
folio, no place or name, 1731, second pagination, p. 170. 


the corpse ; but wylo signifies to weep and lament, and so wyl nos may be 
a night of lamentation. While they stay together on these nights, they are 
either singing psalms or reading some part of scripture. 

Whenever anybody comes into the room where a dead corpse lies, 
especially the wyl nos, and the day of its interment, the first thing he does 
he falls upon his knees by the corpse and saith the Lord's prayer. 

Pence and half-pence, in lieu of little rolls of bread, (which heretofore 
generally and by some still are given on these occasions,) are now distributed 
to the poor, who flock in great numbers to the house of the dead before 
the corpse is brought out. When the corpse is brought out of the house, 
and laid upon the bier, and covered before it be taken up, the next of kin 
to the deceased, widow, mother, daughter, or cousin, (never done by a man,) 
gives cross over the corpse to one of the poorest neighbours two or three 
white loaves of bread and a cheese with a piece of money stuck in it, and 
then a new wooden cup of drink, which some will require the poor body 
that receives it immediately to drink a little of. When this is done, the 
minister (if present) saith the Lord's prayer, and then they set forward to 
wards church. And all along, from the house to the church-yard, at every 
cross way, the bier is laid down, and the Lord's prayer renewed ; and so 
when they come first into the church-yard, and before any of the verses 
appointed in the service to be said. 

In some places there is a custom of ringing a little bell before the corpse 
from the house to the church-yard. If it should happen to rain while the 
corpse is carried to church, 'tis reckoned to bode well for the deceased, 
whose bier is wet with the dew of heaven. When a corpse is carried to 
church from any part of the town the bearers take care to carry it so that 
the cross may be on their right hand, nor will they bring the corpse to the 
church-yard any other way but through the south gate. There is also a 
custom of singing psalms on the way as the corpse is carried to church. 

At church nothing is done but as directed by the rubric, besides that, 
evening service is read with the orifice of burial. At those words, " we com 
mit this body to the ground," the minister holds the spade and throws in 
the earth first. 

The minister goes to the altar and there saith the Lord's prayer, with 
one of the prayers appointed to be read at the grave ; after which, the con 
gregation offer upon the altar, or on a little board for that purpose fixed to 
the rails of the altar, their benevolence to the officiating minister. A friend 
of the deceased is appointed to stand at the altar, observing who gives, and 
how much. When all have given, he tells the money with the minister, and 
signifies the sum to the congregation, thanking them for all their good will. 

The people kneel and say the Lord's prayer on the graves of their 
lately deceased friends for some Sundays after their interment, and this is 
done generally upon their first coming into the church, and after that they 
dress the grave with flowers. 1 

1 From a MS. book of a Bishop of St. Asaph, written about a century before publi 
cation in British Magazine, 1835, vol. vii. p. 399. Cf. Thomas Pennant, A Tour in 
Wales, London, White, 1784, vol. ii. p. 338. 


Pennant speaks further of Welsh funerals : 

Offerings at funerals are kept up here, and I believe in all the Welsh 
churches. A disgusting, and in cases in which the deceased may have died 
of an infectious distemper, a dangerous custom, often prevails, of the corpse 
being brought into the Church during divine service, and left there till the 
congregation is dismissed. 

That excellent memento to the living, the passing-bell, is punctually 
sounded. . . . The canon (6 7) allows one short peal after death, one other 
before the funeral, and one other after the funeral. The second is still in use, 
and is a single bell solemnly tolled. The third is a merry peal, rung at the 
request of the relations. 1 

1 Thomas Pennant, The History of the Parishes ofWhitefordand Holy well, London, 
White, 1796, p. 99. " Disgusting" has often in the eighteenth century more the sense 
of being displeasing, than of being abhorrent. It is used in this way by Dr. Johnson. 



[Letter of Serena Holroyd to Maria Josepha, Bath, August 4, 1787, in the Girlhood 
of Maria Josepha Holroyd, ed. Jane H. Adeane, Longmans, 1896, p. 17.] 

IT was at our Cathedral, which we call the Abbey. I daresay you have 
heard of Sunday Schools. It is but lately we have had that institution 
here, and at first it went on slowly ; but by joining it to a School of Industry, 
they now all crowd to the other, which is a necessary step to that of industry. 
There is a clergyman employed for this Sunday evening service for the 
children alone, after the other common service is over, and it is in the great 
Isle where you must suppose nine hundred children in perfect order, placed 
on benches in long rows, so quiet that could hardly have heard a pin drop 
while the Clergyman was reading. Reflect how very extraordinary this 
circumstance alone ! when you recollect that most of them were taken out 
of the streets, untaught and actually almost savage, cursing, swearing, and 
fighting in the streets all day, and many without a home at night. Two 
girls, I myself know, slept in the street. Most of them not only ragged 
and starving, but without a chance of being put in the way to earn their 
bread. Yet here I saw them, not only in such order, but so well instructed 
as to have most of the service by heart ; for though they had books, I ob 
served they scarce looked at them, and yet repeated the responses per 
fectly, aloud. At one instant also, without direction to do so, the nine 
hundred dropped on their knees and rose again, which showed they knew 
what they were about ; their little hands lifted up and j oined together, 
looking with such innocent devotion. They sang the Psalms, all in time 
with the organ by heart, and notwithstanding the number, the sound was 
neither too loud nor too harsh, but on the contrary, soft and affecting beyond 



THE observance of the Christian year is one of the most profit 
able of the Church's institutions ; yet it was abhorred by the Puri 
tans, mainly for the same reason that they rejected other things, 
because they found it in existence and it had the claim of antiquity. 


Christmas was a feast which in England had always been a 
season of rejoicing, and of showing good-will towards all men. 
Nevertheless, during the Rebellion the observance of the festival of 
Christmas, as the Church bids us, was not allowed It was turned 
into a fast, or no notice was taken of the day. This was very ill 
borne, and a reaction set in immediately. 1 

Mr. Pepys observes the unusual decorations at the first Christ 
mas kept after the Restoration, for on Dec. 23, 1660 he finds his 
pew decked with rosemary and bays. 

The "sticking of Churches" at Christmas with green boughs 
went on during our period, and is thus described by the Spectator : 

our Clerk, who was once a Gardiner, has this Christmas so over-deckt 
the Church with Greens, that he has quite spoilt my Prospect, insomuch 
that I have scarce seen the young Baronet I dress at these three Weeks, 
though we have both been very constant at our Devotions, don't sit above 
three Pews off. The Church, as it is now equipt, looks more like a Green 
house than a place of Worship : the middle Isle is a very pretty shady 
Walk, and the Pews look like so many Arbours of each Side of it. The 

1 " 1647, Dec. 29, News came of a great Disorder and tumult in Canterbury, about 
the Observation of Christmas-day, the Major endeavouring the Execution of the Ordin 
ance for abolishing holy-days, was much abused by the rude multitude, had his head 
broken, and was dragged up and down, till he got into an house for his safety . . . 
like Insurrections were in several other places of the Kingdom." [Bulstrode White- 
locke,] Memorials of the English affairs [K. Charles I. to K. Charles II.] London, 
Ponder, 1682, p. 286. See also Canterbury Christmas, London, Humphrey Howard, 
1648: and The Declaration of many thousands of the City of Canterbury , Lond. 1647. 



Pulpit itself has such Clusters of Ivy, Holly, and Rosemary about it, that 
a light Fellow in our Pew took occasion to say, that the Congregation 
heard the Word out of a Bush, like Moses}- 

In the North the decking does not seem to have been so well 

Another Custom observed at this Season, is the adorning of Windows 
with Bay and Laurel. It is but seldom observed in North, but in the 
Southern-Parts, it is very Common, particularly at our Universities ; where 
it is Customary to adorn, not only the Common Windows of the Town, 
and of the Colleges, but also to bedeck the Chapels of the Colleges, with 
Branches of Laurel ? 

So Gay, speaking of Christmas, treats these evergreens as well- 
known decorations in 1716 : 

Now with bright holly all your temples strow 
With laurel green and sacred mistletoe. 3 

In 1721, Thomas Lewis speaks of the custom in use in his day of 
garnishing the churches " with Flowers and the Branches of Trees," 4 
not, however, it may be noted specially at Christmas. 

Horace Walpole attends Prince Edward to the new Magdalen 
House for penitent women : 

This new convent is beyond Goodman's-fields, and, I assure you, 
would content any catholic alive . . . Lord Hertford ... led the prince 
directly into the chapel, where, before the altar was an arm-chair for him, 
with a blue damask cushion, a prie-Dieu^ and a footstool of black cloth 
with gold nails. We sat on forms near him. There were lord and lady 
D in the odour of devotion, and many city ladies. The chapel is small 
and low, but neat, hung with gothic paper, and tablets of benefactions. 
At the west end were enclosed the sisterhood, above an hundred and thirty, 
all in greyish brown stuffs, broad handkerchiefs, and flat straw hats, with a 
blue riband, pulled quite over their faces. As soon as we entered the chapel, 
the organ played, and the Magdalens sung a hymn in parts ; you cannot 
imagine how well. The chapel was dressed with orange and myrtle, and 
there wanted nothing but a little incense to drive away the devil, or to 
invite him. Prayers then began, psalms, and a sermon. 5 

The orange and myrtle were probably holly or other evergreens, 

1 Spectator, No. 282, Wednesday, January 23, 1711-12. The letter is dated Jan 
uary 14, 1712, the day after the Octave of the Epiphany. 

2 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, p. 136. 

3 John Gay, Trivia, Book i. line 441, from Poems, ed. J. Underhill, London, Rout- 
ledge, 1893, vol. i. p. 143. 

4 Thomas Lewis, The obligation of Christians to beautify and adorn their Churches, 
London, John Hooke, 1721, p. 23. 

5 Letter cxix. January 28, 1760, to George Montagu. (Works, London, Radwell 
and Martin, 1818, vol. vi. p. 192.) 


remains of the greenery at Christmas, not taken away till Candle 
mas. Orange and myrtle have a more genteel, Italian, or exquisite 
sound than holly ; orange is not likely to have been imported for 
this purpose from the south. 

For some twenty years at the end of the nineteenth century I 
had to pass the winter at Cannes, and near the port and market 
there was a little French chapel, decked at Christmas quite after the 
fashion of the Spectator's church. A tall fir tree filled up the little 
pulpit. There was no creche, such as nearly all the parish churches 
around had ; but the greenery was quite after the arrangement 
which Washington Irving might have seen at Bracebridge. In his 
description of an English Christmas he introduces the parson re 
buking the sexton for using mistletoe among the greens with which 
the church was adorned. 1 

Christmas was one of the times for a general communion 
throughout our period. In 1714 there were two celebrations at St. 
James' Piccadilly, St. Martin's in the Fields, St. Mary Magdalen 
Bermondsey, St. Anne's Soho, at 7 and 12. At St. Dunstan's in 
the West " every day in the Octaves of Christmas" at 8 after morning 
prayers. It may be taken for granted that where Paterson says the 
Eucharist is celebrated on " the solemn occasion " or other like expres 
sion, Christmas day is included as well as Easter and Whitsuntide. 

Christmas was also a time when the members of the University 
were expected to receive Communion at Oxford. Just before the 
Revolution Anthony Wood notes that the new papist did not re 
ceive the Sacrament in the College chapel. 2 

Dr. Felton rode out of Oxford at 8 o'clock in the morn 
ing one Christmas Day, 3 and thus set no edifying example to those 
who remained at Edmund Hall. He should have met Parson 
Adams who severely rebukes a youth for travelling on Christmas 
Day. 4 But Hearne himself is not free from blame in this matter, 
for on the Christmas Day of 1713 he had done just as Dr. Felton 
did. 5 

1 Washington Irving, The Keeping of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall, Dent, 1906, 
p. 41. 

2 Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 
1894, v l- "i- P- 2O2 

3 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1907, vol. 
viii. p. 310. 

4 See below in this chapter, p. 245. 

5 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1907, vol. 
iv. p. 280. 


Christmas was observed at the English Court by a curious 
offering of a wedge of gold called a Byzant. The author of Festa 
Anglo-Romana writes : 

This is a Grand day in His Majesties Court, and one of the Houshold- 
days, when the Besant is to be given by the Lord Steward, or one of the 
White-Staff Officers. 1 

In 1738 there is a London letter dated Dec. 26 saying that the 
day before the King had received Communion. 

His Majesty at the Altar made his Offering of a large Wedge of Gold, 
called the Byzant, according to ancient Custom. 2 

Again in 1 747 : 

Dec. 25. Being Christmas -day, the same was observed at court as a 
high festival. . . . His majesty made an offering at the altar of a wedge of 
gold, commonly called the Byzant. 3 

But the last time I find this recorded is in 1765. 

Dec. 25. [Their majesties] received the sacrament . . . after which 
his majesty made the usual offering, at the altar, of a wedge of gold called 
the Byzant. 4 

Hospitality was a great feature in the English Christmas. 

Here in England, during the twelve Days of Christmas, the Nobility 
and Gentry retire to their respective Seats in the Country ; and there, with 
their Relations, Neighbours, and Tennants, keep Carnavals in their own 
Houses, Hospitality, Musick, Balls, and Play as much during this Season 
all over England, as in any Kingdom whatever. 5 

Sir Roger de Coverley, "after the laudable custom of his 
Ancestors, always keeps open House at Christmas"* 

Stukeley tells us of a strange custom at York with mistletoe on 
Christmas Eve. 

The custom [? of cutting mistletoe] is still preserved in the north, and 
was lately at York, on the eve of Christmas-day they carry mistletoe to 
the high altar of the cathedral, and proclaim a public and universal liberty, 
pardon and freedom to all sorts of inferior, and even wicked people, at the 
gates of the city, toward the four quarters of heaven. 7 

The statement is somewhat confused ; and we are not told by 
what officers the mistletoe was taken to the high altar of the 
minster at York or by whom the pardons were proclaimed. 

1 Festa Anglo-Romana, London, Jacob, 1678, p. 128. 

2 Whit-worth's Manchester Magazine, January 2, 1738-39. 

3 British Magazine, 1747, Dec. p. 561. 

4 Annual Register, 1765, Dec. 25, Chronicle, p. 152. 

5 A Journey through England, London, 1723, third ed. vol. i. Letter ii. p. 25. 

6 Spectator, No. 269, Jan, 8, 1711-12. 

7 William Stukeley, The Medallic History of Marcus Aurelius Valerius Carausius, 
Book II. London, Corbet, 1759, p. 164. 


There was and perhaps still is in Wales a practice which may 
have taken its rise from the Mattins and Mass said at Midnight 
before the Reformation. Plygan is cockcrow ; and the first Mass 
of Christmas is called Missa in galli cantu. 

Christmas Ply gain. 

Upon Christmas day in the morning, about three of the clock, most 
of the parishioners meet in the church, and after prayers and a sermon, 
they continue there singing psalms and Welsh hymns with great devotion 
and earnestness till 'tis broad day ; and if any through age or infirmity are 
disabled coming to church, they never fail to have prayers and carols on 
our Saviour's nativity at home. 1 

Almost the same words are used by Pennant, speaking of Re 
ligious Customs ; 2 so that the question arises whether one may 
not be borrowing from the other. 

In Mrs. Thrale's Tour in Wales with Dr. Johnson from the 5th 
of July to the 29th of September 1774, we read : 

Monday August i .... In our return from this place we saw Whit- 
church, where, as at all Churches in this valley, lights are kindled at 2 in 
the morning on every Xmas Day and songs of joy and genuine gratitude 
are accompanied by the Harp and resound to the cottages below, whose 
little inhabitants rousing at the call hasten and chuse a convenient place 
to dance till prayer time which begins at sunrise and separates the dancers 
for a while. 3 

This fuller account of the Christmas Plygan is given by the 
Rev. Elias Owen writing in 1886. 

On Christmas morn, tradition says, the church bell was rung in Cilcen 
from five to six o'clock, at which latter hour the service began. In other 
parishes the hour was four. The service usually consisted of a selection 
of appropriate portions of the Prayer Book, with or without a brief ad 
monitory address by the clergyman, and then the carol-singing began. 
Any one who desired to sing was at liberty to do so. Sometimes a party 
sang in chorus, and sometimes a single voice was heard, and this service 
of song was continued until the dawn of day, when the Benediction was 
pronounced, and the congregation separated. 

Those who took part in the carol-singing supplied themselves with their 
own home-made candles, but the church authorities partially lit up the 
church for the occasion. As there were formerly no evening services in 

1 From a MS. book of a Bishop of St. Asaph, written about a century before pub 
lication : printed in British Magazine, 1835, vol. vii. p. 401. 

2 Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Wales, 1770, London, White, 1781, vol. ii. p. 339. 

3 A. M. Broadley, Doctor Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, London, John Lane, iqio, p. 


the churches, and the gosper or vespers began at three o'clock in the after 
noon, when no lights were required, it was necessary that the churchwardens 
should provide candles and candlesticks for the Plygan on Christmas morn. 1 

Mr. J. E. Vaux reports as follows : 

I learn from the Rev. S. C. Baker that an ancient custom of having a 
celebration at six o'clock on Christmas morning is kept up at Usk in 
Monmouthshire. The country people come in from distant parts of the 
parish to this early service, and some communicate who do not at other 
times. It is called " Pwlgwm " in Usk, in other places " Plygain ". 2 

And further on he says : 

A lady at Swansea has informed me that at St. Peter's Church, 
Carmarthen, an early service used to be held on Christmas morning within 
the memory of persons now living. The church was lighted with coloured 
candles, carried thither on that occasion by the congregation. 3 

Not unlike the custom in Wales is the custom in the Isle ofMan. 

On the 24th of December, towards Evening, all the Servants in general 
have a Holiday, they go not to Bed all Night, but ramble about till the 
Bells ring in all the Churches, which is at twelve aclock ; Prayers being 
over, they go to hunt the Wren . . . after which Christmas begins. There 
is not a Barn unoccupied the whole twelve Days, every Parish hiring Fidlers 
at the publick Charge. 4 

The author of Festa Anglo-Romana is no very sure antiquary, 
and his description of what went on in his own time is not always to be 
trusted, as when he makes the King offer gold, frankincense, and 
myrrh on the feast of the Circumcision, instead of the Epiphany ; yet 
his ideas may be those of the people. Thus he writes of Christmas : 

The Latin or Western Church nam'd it Luminaria^ or the Feast of 
Lights ; because therein were used abundance of Lights and Tapers ; or 
rather, (as some conceive) because Christ the Light of Lights ; the true 
Light then came into the World. 5 

But it is truly the name in the East for the Epiphany rather 
than for Christmas. 

The real reason for such an abundance of artificial light would 
seem to be the period of the winter solstice, at which the festival is 

1 Ellas Owen, Old Stone Crosses of the Vale of Clwyd, Quaritch, 1886, p. n. 

2 J. E. Vaux, Church Folklore, London, Griffith Farran, 1894, p. 61. 

3 ibid. p. 222. 

4 George Waldron, A Description of the Isle of Man, contained in Compleat Works, 
no place or name, 1731, second pagination, p. 155. Waldron was a revenue officer in 
the Isle of Man so that he had good opportunities for noting the customs of the Manx 

5 Festa Anglo-Romana, London, Jacob, 1678, p. 127. 


celebrated, when the days are short and dark. But be this as it may, 
luminaria is not a frequent name for Christmas in the West. 

Manchester in the middle of the eighteenth century was a very 
focus of High Church practices. One of these was the lighting of 
the branches that hung in the quire of the Collegiate Church for the 
hour of evensong during the Twelve Days of Christmas. How far 
into the eighteenth century this custom goes back is not well known. 
But in the nineteenth century were taken away altogether the branches 
that hung in the nave, and those that hung in the quire were re 
legated to the ambulatory. Yet these latter are still lit from Christ 
mas Eve to the Epiphany. 1 If the date of the first appearance of 
the candelabra be 1696, the custom of lighting them for the Twelve 
Days of Christmas can hardly be earlier. 2 

Lighted candles seem to be connected with Christmas in Wales 
as well as at Manchester. A correspondent with the initials A. R. 
and writing from C roes wy Ian, Oswestry, notes as follows : 

When I was a boy, the colliers at Llwynymaen, two miles from the town, 
were in the habit, during the evenings of Christmas week, of carrying from 
house to house in Oswestry boards covered with clay, in which were stuck 
lighted candles. 8 

A writer with the initials A. E. L. L. says : 

Until the last few years, the village children of Hucknall Torkard, 
Notts ... on Christmas Eve used to carry with them a large doll, placed 
in a box decorated with sprigs of holly. 4 

He adds that the children had no idea that this represented our 
Lord in the manger. 

The Pickwick Papers, with their complete disregard of Christmas 
as a religious festival, may represent the practice in some families in 
England towards the end of the period. Yet we have Miss Austen 
giving us a welcome contrast to Dickens when she says " though 
Christmas Day, she could not go to church ". 5 

The Epiphany, that great festival of the Church, older than 
Christmas, yet so much neglected in our time, was, during some part 
of our period at least, much thought of. 

1 See Mr. Henry A. Hudson's valuable paper on The Christmas Lights at Manchester 
Cathedral, published in the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian 
Society, vol. xxix. 1912. 

2 S. Hibbert, History of the Foundations in Manchester, London, Pickering, 1834, 
vol. ii. p. 285. 

3 Notes and Queries, 1873, Dec. 13, p. 471. 4 ibid. 1877, Dec. 22, p. 486. 

5 Jane Austen, Emma, ch. xvi. towards end. Emma was written before 1816. 



The Twelfth- Day it self is one of the greatest of the Twelve, and of more 
jovial Observation than the Others, for the visiting of Friends and Christmas- 
Gambols. . . . But tho' this be generally the greatest of the Twelve, yet 
the others preceding are observed with Mirth and Jollity, generally to Excess. 1 

Also in the Chapel Royal : 

Tuesday being Twelfth Day, the same was observed at Court as a High 
Festival ... at noon His Majesty, their Royal Highnesses the Prince 
and Princess of Wales, the Duke and the Princess Amelia, preceded by 
the Heralds and Pursuivants at Arms, went in State to the Chappel Royal, 
and during the Offertory his Majesty advanced to the Altar, and according 
to ancient Custom of the Kings of England, offered three purses filled 
with Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. . . . There was a very numerous 
and splendid Appearance at Court on this Occasion. 2 

1761 is the last year in which I have found a record that the 
gold, frankincense, and myrrh were offered on Twelfth Day by the 
King in person. 

Jan. 6. His majesty went to the chapel royal, and offered gold, myrrh, 
and frankincense as usual. 3 

When Dr. Horsley was Bishop of Rochester, he issued in a 
charge of 1800, recommendations for the services to be held in the 
more populous villages. He is by no means over exacting in his 
requirements, yet he directs, amongst other days, that the church 
ought certainly to be open on the Epiphany. It is to be feared 
from this that the festivals and fasts of the Church were at that time 
as he expresses it, "gone much into oblivion and neglect". 4 This 
is part, no doubt, of the influence of the Calvinistic Evangelical 

Christmas seems to have had two endings during our period. 
One is Twelfth Day. Mr. Pepys on Jan. 6, 1662-3 declares 

This night making an end wholly of Christmas, with a mind fully satis 
fied with the great pleasures we have had by being abroad from home. 

We may contrast the pleasure-loving Pepys with the savage- 
minded Dean, who ends Christmas at Candlemas. Swift writing to 
Stella on Feb. 2, 1711-12 says: 

This ends Christmas, and what care I ? I have neither seen, nor felt, 
nor heard any Christmas this year. 5 

1 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, pp. 151-152. 

2 Manchester Magazine, January 13, 1746-7. 

3 Annual Register, 1761, Chronicle, Jan. 6, p. 60. 

4 Samuel Horsley, Charges, Dundee, 1813, p. 161, Charge at Rochester in 1800. 

5 Journal to Stella, Feb. 2, 1711-12, in Works, ed. by Walter Scott, Edinburgh, 
Constable, 1814, vol. iii. p. 30. 

LENT. 211 

Also a somewhat different end and beginning to Christmas may 
be given. Musick and Revelling are allowed in the Inns of Court 
on All Saints and Candlemas Days, one being the first and the 
other the last day of Christmas. 1 In the North, Bourne says 

With some, Christmass ends with the Twelve Days, but with the Gen 
erality of the Vulgar, not till Candlemass? 

In the strict household of Dr. Granville, the Dean of Durham 
before 1689, it was ordered that there should be no playing at 
tables or dice all the year long, nor any playing at cards, but be 
tween All Hallows Day and Candlemas. 3 

This is a matter of some three months, fully a quarter of the 
year, long enough one would think for recreation of this kind. 

Candlemas at Ripon seems to have been observed by way of 
anticipation : 

The Sunday before Candlemas-day the collegiate church, a fine antient 
building, is one continued blaze of light all the afternoon by an immense 
number of candles. 4 

This has been copied by a later writer and it has become con 
fused in the end : 

At Rippon, on the Sunday before Candlemas Day, the Collegiate 
Church is still one continued blaze of light all the afternoon, an immense 
quantity of candles being burnt before it. 5 

Nothing is known of this practice at the present moment by 
persons who lived in Ripon in the middle of the nineteenth century. 

In Nottinghamshire it was the custom on the eve of Candlemas to 
decorate the churches and houses with branches of box, and to light 
up a number of candles in the evening, beingthe last day of Christmas. 6 


Lent began to be kept again immediately with the Restoration. 
Mr. Pepys gives us many notices of it. On March 7, 1659-60 he 
says it is Ash Wednesday, and begins Lent with a fish dinner. The 
next year Ash Wednesday falling on Feb. 27, 1 660-6 1 he says : 

l Festa Anglo-Romana by a True son of the Church of England, London, Jacob, 
1678, p. 14. 

z Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, p. 157. 
3 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 155. 
Gentleman's Magazine, 1790, vol. Ix. p. 719, Aug. 18. Signed : Riponiensis. 

5 Time's Telescope for 1815, London, Sherwood, 1815, p. 43, under note on Feb 
ruary. There is nothing about Ripon in the almanack for 1814. 

6 J. E. Vaux, Church Folklore, London, Griffith Farran, 1894, p. 226. 


212 LENT. 

I called for a dish of fish which we had for dinner, this being the first 
day of Lent ; and I do intend to try whether I can keep it or no. 

We are curious to learn how long this good resolution lasts. The 
next day we read : 

Notwithstanding my resolution, yet for want of other victuals I did eat 
flesh this Lent but am resolved to eat as little as I can. 

On the sixth of March he has " a good Lenten dinner ". On the 
loth, a Sunday, "a poor Lenten dinner of coleworts and bacon". 
He does not tell us how he made bacon a Lenten dish. Perhaps he 
ate flesh as it was Sunday. On Good Friday (April 12, 1661) a 
fish dinner. Before another Lent (Feb. 23, 1662-3) he goes to see 
a play at Court, because it is likely to be the last acted before 
Easter. On March 8 the chapel at Whitehall is hung with black, 
and no anthem sung after sermon. The next day he dines with 
the Lord Mayor, "a great Lent dinner of fish little flesh". On 
April 17, Good Friday, his dinner is "only sugar-sopps 1 and fish; 
the only time that we have had a Lenten dinner all this Lent ". 
This is a great falling ofY in his practice of little austerities. 

On Dec. 1 2, 1 663 there is a strange entry : 

We had this morning a great dispute between Mr. Gauden, Victualler 
of the Navy, and Sir J. Lawson, and the rest of the Commanders going 
against Argier, about their fish and keeping of Lent ; which Mr. Gauden so 
much insists upon to have it observed, as being the only thing that makes 
up the loss of his dear bargain all the rest of the year. 

Lent kept in this fashion could do good to nobody ; but when a 
man of Pepys' character, a presbyterian Royalist, thinks it well to 
appear to keep Lent in this outward fashion we have some evidence 
that the season was widely observed in London. 

Leaving Mr. Pepys and his superficial observance of Lent, it may 
be well to consider how far the practice of fasting, and observance 
of the days of fasting and abstinence set out in the Book of the Com 
mon Prayer were retained by Churchmen at large during our period. 

It would not be looked for that a cookery book could throw 
much light upon Church customs ; but a certain Mrs. Hannah 
Wolley, or Woolly (she spells her name in many fashions) wrote a 
work which seems to have been highly popular. Published in 1670, 

1 Sugar-Sops was a drink. " Take what quantity of Beer or Ale you think fit, boil 
it and scum it, then put to it some Currans (or none at all) slices of fine Manchet, large 
Mace, Sugar or Honey." (T.P. J.P. R.C. N.B. The English and French Cook, London, 
Miller, 1674, p. 414.) 

LENT. 213 

there was a second edition in 1672 ; and I quote from a fifth, pub 
lished in 1684. The title is : 

The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet stored with all manner of rare receipts for 
Preserving, Candying and Cookery. . . . London, Chiswel and Sawbridge, 1684' 

In the second part, No. 287, there is a receipt given for a suit 
able Dish for Lent. At the end of this part are a number of Bills of 
fare according to the different seasons : for example, A Bill of 
Service for extraordinary Feasts in the Summer ; then Another 
Bill of Fare for Winter Season ; a Bill of Fare for lesser Feasts. 
But now we come to meagre diet, A Bill of Fare for Fish Days and 
Fasting-Days in Ember-week, or in Lent. This is followed by A 
Bill of Fare without Feasting, in winter and in summer. Then 
there is A Bill of Fare for Fish-Days in great Houses and at familiar 
times, which is followed by a shorter bill of fare, for Gentlemens 
Houses upon Fish-Days, and at Familiar Times} 

It is not likely that all this would have been set out at length in 
a book of many editions, if there had been no use for the directions 
for meagre days. And it seems a fair inference that the custom ol 
making some change in diet on the days prescribed by the Church 
was at the time widely spread. 

In his parish of Coles-Hill to which Ketlewell was presented 
in 1682 it is said that 

He was a Religious Observer of all the Festivals of the Church, which 
had been much neglected in his Parish before his Time, as indeed they 
were almost everywhere throughout the Kingdom. He observed likewise 
the Days of Fasting and Humiliation, both those appointed by the Church, 
and those which were enjoyned by the Civil Authority. Wednesdays and 
Fridays in Lent, he abstained from Flesh, and Drank small Beer, according 
to the Canon ; he failed not to bid all Publick Holy Days, and had Prayers 
both upon them, and their Eves, as also upon Saturdays in the Afternoon. 2 

When Mrs. Godolphin was Maid of Honour she drew up a rule 
of life and this is part of her resolution as to fasting : 

" . . . On Festivall evens I resolve to dyne att home, and to repeat 
all the psalmes I know by heart " (of which she had almost the whole 
psalter,) "reserveing my reading or part of my prayers till night ; and supp 
with bread and beere only. 

1 There is another cookery book of the same period in which Lenten dishes are 
given, and this is The English and French Cook, by T.P. J.P. R.C. N.B. (London, 
Simon Miller, 1674). It has on p. 372 " All manner of Potages for Lent " which 
" are made and seasoned as these for the fasting days, only this excepted, that you put 
no Eggs in them ". On p. 382, there are Dishes proper for Good Friday, and on p. 
387 " for any Friday ". On p. 434, are bills of fare for fish days, Ember weeks, or Lent. 

2 Memoirs of the Life of Mr. John Ketlewell, London, 1718, p. 66. 

214 LENT. 

" On Frydayes and Wednesdaies I'le eat nothing till after evening 
prayer; and soe come downe as soone as ever the Queene has dyned, 
without goeing to visitt, till my owne prayers are finished." l 

In Mrs. Astell's proposed community all the fasts of the Church 
were to be observed : that is Lent, Ember days, Rogation Days, 
Vigils and Fridays. 2 

Ambrose Bonwicke, the pious Cambridge undergraduate, 
writes thus to himself: 

Remember to observe all Lent with abstinence and retirement, and 
interruption of visits ; and the Wednesdays and Fridays therein, together 
with the holy passion-week, with strict fasting. Observe all vigils with 
abstinence and prayer, as also Embers and Rogations, and all Fridays in the 
year with strict fasting. 3 

More than the Prayer Book requires was also recommended ; 
the Wednesday as well as the Friday was to be kept : 

Serve God publickly with Fastings and Prayers upon the Wednesdays 
and Fridays of the whole year.* 

Wednesday and Friday were specially to be observed with 
prayer according to Dr. Seeker, afterwards Archbishop of Canter 
bury, as " the stationary days of each week," 5 which in this age 
are more commonly called the station days. 

Besides Wednesdays and Fridays as days of fasting Annand 
tells us that 

Some also abstain on Saturday in memorial of that sorrow that was 
upon believers while our Saviour lay in the grave. 6 

This was the case in 1662 at Jesus College, Cambridge. John 
Strype writes home to his mother, describing his diet : 

Sometimes, neverthelesse, we have boiled meat, with pottage ; and 
beef and mutton, which I am glad of ; except Fridays and Saturdays, and 
sometimes Wednesdays ; which dayes we have Fish at dinner, and tansy 
or pudding for supper. 7 

1 The life of Mrs. Godolphin by John Evelyn, London, Sampson Low, 1888, p. 

2 [Mary Astell,] A serious proposal to the Ladies, etc. London, 1696, p. 61. 

3 Life of Ambrose Bonwicke by his Father, ed. by John E. B. Mayor, Cambridge, 
Deighton, 1870, p. 26. 

4 Edward Felling, The good old way, ]. Edwin, 1680, p. 92. 

5 Thomas Seeker, Eight charges, London, 1771, p. 76, in the Second Charge. 

6 W. Annand, Fides Catholica, London, Brewster, 1661, p. 257. 

7 Charles Henry Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, Cambridge, Warwick, 1845, vol. 
iii. p. 504. 

LENT. 215 

It may be noted that at Winchester College Saturday was 
a day of abstinence up to 17 n. 1 The English Roman Catholics 
must have kept Saturday as a meagre day up to 1775 or 1776 ; for 
Dr. Nugent would order on Friday or Saturday an omelet for supper 
at the Literary Club. 2 

When Dr. Granville, the Dean of Durham, kept house at his 
Parsonages, they must have resembled convents more than ordinary 
families. The fasting days, Lent, Ember days, Vigils, Rogation 
Days were all most strictly observed. 3 

On April 24, 1723 Hearne notes: 

Among other Customs that Dr. Felton hath altered at Edmund Hall, 
is the breaking off Fast Nights on Fridays. For, whereas there did not use 
formerly to be any Suppers there on that day, he hath now ordered the 
contrary, and makes the Bell to be rung as at other set Supper times. 4 

This is evidence that Hearne looked upon Friday as a fast day, as 
one of the two meals was taken off; not a day of abstinence merely. 

William Law holds fasting to be a part of the duty of every 

No Christian who knows anything of the Gospel, can doubt whether 
fasting be a common Duty of Christianity, since our Saviour has placed it 
along with secret Alms, and private Prayer. 5 

Fielding presents a self-satisfied person at the judgement gate, 
pleading his observance of fast days. 

The second [applicant] exhibited that he had constantly frequented his 
church, been a rigid observer of fast days. 6 

About 1767, Dr. Hildesley, Bishop of Sodor and Man from 
1755-72, saw to the observance of Lent and Fasting days at Sher- 
burn Hospital. There are fifteen vigils of holidays, and six 
Wednesdays in Lent, on which they have but a pound of pudding ; 
and on Good Friday they have only sugar sops. 7 

1 T. F. Kirby, Annals of Winchester College, London, Frowde, 1892, pp. 379-381. 
See also p. 322. 

2 H. L. Piozzi, Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, second ed. London, Cadell, 
1786, p. 122. 

3 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 156. 

4 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1907, vol. 
viii. p. 69. 

5 William Law, A Practical Treatise upon Christian Perfection, ch. vii. ed. by J. 
J. Trebeck, Spottiswoode & Co., 1902, p. 169. 

6 H. Fielding, A Journey from this world to the next, ch. vii. in Works, ed. by 
Murphy and Browne, London, Bickers, 1871, vol. iv. p. 368. 

7 Weeden Butler, Memoirs of Mark Hildesley, London, Nichols, 1799, pp. 148- 
150. For composition of sugarsops, see footnote above on p. 212, 

216 LENT. 

It will be remembered that in 1750 there were earthquakes 
succeeding one another with such an amount of periodicity that 
Horace Walpole in his flippant way proposed that the bark should 
be taken against them. 1 So in 1756 a fast day was ordered by the 
authorities, and a journalist wishing to mock the indifferent into a 
better behaviour remarks that 

persons of fashion, who are above the law, will I doubt pay as little regard 
to this nominal fast-day as to Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, or the long 
exploded 3Oth of January. 2 

There was a public fast in 1 740, and a journalist takes occasion 
to rebuke a manner of fasting that has nothing painful in it. 

[People] cannot, I think, easily imagine that this Duty consists merely 
in Abstinence from Beef and Mutton, or any other Flesh, while they riot 
in all the Delicacies which Fish and Vegetables can afford them ; no, tho' 
they should give an entire Holyday to the Cooks, and refuse all Manner 
of Sustenance, during 24 Hours ... A total Forbearance of all Diversions 
will be likewise insisted on, not only of public Entertainments, which will 
not be permitted by the Government, but all private Parties, as Cards, 
Dancing or any other Merriment. 3 

In the same number a protest is made against mere fish eating. 

All these methods of keeping a Fast without abstinence, mortification, 
or self-denial are mere quibbles to evade the performance of our duty and 
entirely frustrate the design of appointing the solemnity. 

This is just the old Tractarian teaching which I have heard 
insisted upon when a boy. 

It is also exactly the teaching of the holy Bishop of Sodor and 

526. Fasting. From pleasant meates, rather than from all, as it would 
answer the Ends of Mortification, in not gratifying the Palat, nor ministring 
to Luxury, so it would agree with every constitution, and answer the objec 
tion That my Health will not suffer me to Fast. 4 

An example of the way in which in Evelyn's time the Friday 
fast (not mere abstinence) was kept by the clergy is given in his 
note on Feb. 20, 1671-72. Dr. Breton had died on Feb. 18 : 

on the Friday, having fasted all day, making his provisionary sermon for 
the Sunday following, he went well to bed, but was taken suddenly ill, 
and expir'd before help could come to him. 

1 Letters of Horace Walpole . . . to Sir Horace Mann, London, 1833, 2n ^ e ^- 
vol. ii. p. 354, April 2, 1750. 

z Connoisseur, No. 106, Feb. 5, 1756. 

3 Champion, Tuesday, January 8, 1739-40, vol. i. p. 166. 

4 Thomas Wilson, Maxims of Piety and Morality, No. 526 in Works, Oxford, J. 
H. Parker, 1860, vol. v. p. 438. See also No. 1055, Fasting and Temperance, p. 486. 

LENT. 217 

The powers of staying without food expected of the average 
man at this period are shown in the Friday fast of Lake's Officium 
Eucharisticum. The communicant is told to rise at 5, "if your 
Health will permit you ". He is then to be occupied with private 
prayers and self-examination up to 1 1 when he goes to Church ; 
at noon he returns and begins private prayers again, with a recapi 
tulation of self-examination. This being finished at 3, the penitent 
betakes himself to Evening Service, when if the conscience be not 
satisfied he may open his " Grief by Confession" and "receive the 
benefit of absolution ". Then returning to his closet he occupies 
himself in prayers until 7 when 

Thus disposed you are ready for your Supper by Seven a Clock, whereto 
notwithstanding your long Abstinence, you must not let loose your Appetite ; 
but eat as sparingly as at other times. 1 

The food when taken is to be mean and ordinary, such as a crust 
of bread, a little wine, or a glass of small Beer, etc. 

The same belief in power to fast is shown in 1 748 in the Rules 
for diet at a school founded by John Wesley at Kingswood. On 
Fridays they had vegetables and dumplings for dinner, no meat as 
on other days, and there is added " And so in Lent ". But part of 
the rule is : 

On Friday, if they choose it, they fast till three in the afternoon. Ex 
perience shows that this is so far from impairing health that it greatly con 
duces to it. 2 

Who, nowadays, would think of asking growing children to do 
without food till three o'clock in the day? and for the forty days of 
Lent as well ? 

Speaking of the duty of giving alms to the poor the Spectator says : 

Eugenius prescribes to himself many particular Days of Fasting and 
Abstinence, in order to increase his private Bank of Charity, and sets aside 
what would be the current Expences of those Times for the Use of the Poor. 3 

Thus it was not to be the overflowings of the purse merely 
that were to be given as alms ; but the product of what was saved 
by austerities on fasting days ; the abstinence from flesh meats or 
pleasant food being also enforced. 

Of Shrove Tuesday, Bourne says : 

1 Lake's Officium Eucharisticum, p. 48. 

2 The History of Kingswood School . . . by three old boys, London, Kelly, 1898, 
p. 25. 

3 Spectator, No. 177, September 22, 1711. 

2i8 LENT. 

This Custom of confessing to the Priest at this Time, was laid aside 
by our Church at the Reformation : For Sins are to be confess'd to 
God alone, and not to the Priest, except when the Conscience cannot 
otherwise be quieted : Then indeed the Grief is to be opened to the 
Spiritual Guide in private, That by the Ministry of God's Word^ he may 
give [? receive] the Benefit of Absolution?- 

The remainder of the Exhortation before Communion in the 
Book of Common Prayer follows. 

The Public Penance that preceded Lent is remembered by 

And for this Exercise, [Penance] the time of Lent hath always been 
deputed by the Church. The Fast before the Feast of the Resurrection 
stands by the same Law, by which that stands. For, the Feast was, from 
the beginning, the end of the Fast. So, the Z^/-Fast, and the keeping 
of the Lords day, stand both upon the same authority. For, the Lords 
day is but the Remembrance of the Resurrection once a week. 2 

The beginning of Lent must have been a time for Communion. 
In 1686 Anthony Wood notes that Obadiah Walker, turning papist, 
had not " received the sacrament I. Sunday in Lent". 3 

The services of Ash Wednesday must have been well attended 
by the people when a worldling like Horace Walpole could take it 
for granted that the generality would understand a jest upon the 
Commination Service. 

The penalty of death came over as often as the curses in the Commin 
ation on Ash-Wednesday. 4 

Swift, while manifesting his impatience at the restraints of Lent, 
bears witness to the keeping of the season in Queen Anne's time. 
Writing to Stella on March 5, 1711-12 he says : 

I wish you a merry Lent. I hate Lent ; I hate different diets, and 
furmity and butter, and herb porridge ; and sour devout faces of people, 
who only put on religion for seven weeks. 5 

Next year he dines with Lord Abingdon on Ash Wednesday. 
(Feb. 18, 1712-13.) 

1 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, p. 180. 

2 Herbert Thorndike, Just Weights and Measures, London, Martin, etc. 1662, 
p. 121, ch. xviii. 

s Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 

1894, vo1 - "i- P- I7& 

4 Horace Walpole, Memoires of the last Ten Years of the Reign of King George the 
Second, London, Murray, 1822, vol. i. p. 32. 

5 The works of Jonathan Swift, ed. by Sir Walter Scott, Edinburgh, Constable, 
1814, vol. iii. p. 55. 

LENT. 219 

We did not dine till seven, because it is Ash Wednesday. We had 
nothing but fish, which Lord Stawell could not eat, and got a broiled leg of 
a turkey. Our wine was poison ; yet the puppy has twelve thousand pounds 
a year. His carps were raw, and his candles tallow. 1 

Swift is scandalised not so much at the dinner on Ash Wednesday 
as at the bad entertainment. 

It will be noticed how late the dinner was on Ash Wednesday. 
This was part of the discipline, for only one meal had to be taken on 
a fast day, the usual hour for dinner in Queen Anne's time being 
still about mid-day. In the same way, on January 16, 1711-12 
Swift notes : 

This being fast day, Dr. Freind and I went into the city to dine late, like 
good fasters. 2 

That only one meal was to be eaten on a fast day we see by the 
rules set out by authority. For example: In 1665 during the time 
of the plague, an additional fast was prescribed for the Wednesday, 
and these were the rules to be observed : 

All persons (children, old, weak, and sick folk, and necessary Harvest- 
labourers, or the like, excepted) are required to eat upon the Fast-day, but 
one competent and moderate Meal ; and that towards night, after Evening 
Prayer ; observing sobriety of Diet, without superfluity of riotous fare ; re 
specting necessity and not voluptuousness. 3 

In 1676 Anthony Wood tells us how he kept Lent. 

27 Mar. <Easter Monday> I returned from Weston. I went there 27 
Jan. (Th.) ; kept a Lent which I never did before ; not eat a bit of flesh from 
Shrove Tuesday (Feb. 8) till Easter day (26. Mar.). 4 

Looking back upon the evidence offered as to the custom of 
fasting, it does not appear that in the seventeenth or eighteenth 
centuries the distinction between fasting and abstinence was better 
known to Churchmen than in the prae-Reformation Church of 
England. All Fridays appear to have been fast days, only one 
meal being allowed. 

John Byrom sends his sister a poem on the keeping of Lent, 
which begins : 

1 The works of Jonathan Swift, ed. by Sir Walter Scott, Edinburgh, Constable, 
1814, vol. Hi. p. 169. 
3 Ibid. p. 16. 

3 A Form of Common Prayer, together With an Order of Fasting for the Averting of 
Gods heavy Visitation, set forth by His Majesties Authority. London, John Bill and 
Chr. Barker, 1665, leaf A. i. 

4 Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society, 
1892, vol. ii. p. 341. 

220 LENT. 

Dear Mrs. Phebe, if you will keep Lent, 
We must, the Parsons say be abstinent. 1 

and he proceeds to forbid not only flesh-meats but eggs and fish, 
with wine, beer, and spirits. 

Bishop Butler, preaching on the first Sunday in Lent, alludes 
to the mourning clothes which in his day were worn : 

Repentance, the outward show of which we all put on at this season. 2 

A near kinswoman of my own, who was a girl at school when 
the Royal George went down at Spithead in 1782, always wore 
black during Lent. 

The Rev. J. R. Hill, S.P.G. Missionary at Banda in India, 
tells me that a relative of his who died in 1874 aged 83, could re 
member that in her girlhood all the women of the village of Yapton, 
near Arundel in Sussex, wore black in Holy Week. 

In 1804 we read that the Endeavour Society widely distributed 
two well-written papers, one of which was on the observance of 
Lent. This latter is reprinted in full in the Orthodox Churchman's 
Magazine. It is an urgent exhortation to the keeping of the Lenten 
fast, noting that the Church had already appointed a weekly fast 
on Friday. 3 

A little later in the nineteenth century a preacher could remind 
his hearers of the Christian seasons, Advent, Ascension Day, and 
the like. In Lent he says : 

Of the various seasons of devotion which our religion prescribes, the 
season of Lent is at once the most solemn and the most salutary. . . . 
Over the wide extent of the Christian world, it reminds us that all the holy 
and the good are engaged in the same purifying work of self-examination. 4 

As a device for continuing everyday pleasures while pretending 
to keep Lent, and as an instance of the importance of calling things 
by unobtrusive names, we have the ironical advice of a clerical poet : 

In Lent, if Masquerades displease the town, 
Call 'em Ridottd's, and they still go down. 5 

A Ridotto was much the same thing as a Masquerade. 6 Thus 

1 Poems of John Byrom, Chetham Society, edited by A. W. Ward, 1912, vol. iii. p. 6. 

2 Fifteen Sermons, VI. in Works of Joseph Butler, ed. W. E. Gladstone, Oxford, 
1896, vol. ii. p. 119. 

3 The Orthodox Churchman's Magazine and Review, London, 1804, vol. vi. p. 163. 

4 Archibald Alison, Sermons, Edinburgh, 1815, sec. ed. vol. ii. p. 356. 

5 James Bramston, The Man of Taste, Reprinted at Dublin, Geo. Faulkner, 1733, 
P- 13- 

6 See N.E.D. under Ridotto. 


in our time invitations to a really large and fashionable ball in 
Lent have been sent out under the name of a little dance. 

In 1/50, the Bishop of London, Dr. Thomas Sherlock, con 
demns the opening of so many places of amusement in his diocese 
during Lent. 

Fifteen Places of Diversion [are] advertis'd in one News-Paper, at 
which the innocent are too often seduced, and which will give foreign 
Churches a strange Idea of the Manner in which Lent is kept in this 
Protestant Country. 1 

In 1800 a journalist remarks of Covent Garden Theatre that 
"as usual in Lent, this theatre has been opened for the performance 
of oratorios at play house prices". 2 And some years after, it would 
seem that during Lent the theatres in London were closed for plays, 
at least on Wednesdays and Fridays, as late as 1825. For 
Samuel Leigh in his guide to London says : 

Les Mercredis et Vendredis soirs pendant le Careme, on donne a Drury- 
Lane et a Covent-Garden des concerts spirituals, et on execute des 
morceaux choisis de musique: ces soirs-la aussi sont ouverts les petits 
theatres, pour 1'exhibition des figures mecaniques. 3 

In our time we have seen plays permitted in Holy Week, and 
now on Ash Wednesday, the last trace of the Christian practice 
being obliterated by the Government. 

In Daniel Turner's private prayers (he was a physician by pro 
fession, and died in 1741) there is "A prayer to be used throughout 
the holy season of Lent, and other set days of Fasting," and follow 
ing are prayers for Passion Week, Easter, Whitsunday and 
Christmas. 4 

According to Festa Anglo-Romana, Holy Week was the name 
given early in our period to the week beginning on Palm Sunday. 5 
Some have imagined that in the days before the Reformation, Holy 
week was not called Passion week. There is good evidence to the 
contrary. For example, at St. Stephen's Walbrook they had "a 
harrow for tenebris Candles, in passion weke," in the inventory of 
Dec. 13, 1558, and thus under Queen Mary Tudor. 6 

The mention of tenebrcs makes it sure that it is Holy Week. 

1 Mitre and Crown, March, 1750, p. 274. 

2 British Magazine, 1800, March, p. 273. 

3 Nouveau Tableau de Londres de Leigh, Londres, 1825, p. 279. 

4 British Museum MS. 14,404, ff. 32 34. 

5 Festa Anglo-Romana, London, Jacob, 1678, p. 40. 

6 Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archceological Society, 1881, vol. v. p. 


Earlier, in the same century, in 1 506, pilgrims embarked on the 
Wednesday in Passion week and landed next day, in France, on 
Maunday Thursday. 

Firste, the Wednysday at nyght in Passyon weke that was the viij. day 
of Apryll in the .xxi. yere of the reygne of our soueraygne lord kynge Henry 
the .vij. the yere of our Lorde God .M.D.vj., aboute .x. of the cloke the 
same nyght, we shypped at Rye in Sussex, and the nexte daye, that was 
Shyre Thursdaye, aboute noone, we landed at Kyryell in Normandy. 1 

Holy Week was certainly used as one name for the week before 
Easter. Dr. Edward Lake speaks of the Gospels for the Holy week? 
Dr. Edward Bernard of The holy weeke before Easter? 

The famous John Partridge, in spite of Swift's announcement of 
his death, pretends to be still alive in 1769, and publishes an al 
manack for that year, Merlinus Liberatus. The fifth Sunday in 
Lent is called Passion Sunday, but there are no indications that the 
week following was called Passion week. That name for the week 
after Passion Sunday seems to have been brought in by the ecclesio- 
logists of the nineteenth century. It ranks with words like crosier for 
the Archbishop's cross, stole for scarf, superaltar for gradine, and the 

Dr. Horsley in his charge to the clergy of Rochester in 1 800 
speaks plainly about the keeping of certain feasts and fasts : 

There can be no excuse for the neglect of the feast of our Lord's 
Nativity, and the stated fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, even in 
the smallest country parishes ; but in towns and the more populous villages, 
the church ought certainly to be opened for worship on the forenoon at 
least of every day in the Passion- week. 4 

He adds to these the Epiphany, of which notice has been taken 
under that day, and the Mondays and Tuesdays in the weeks of 
Easter and Whitsuntide, and there is included a pious wish for 
other festivals. 

In Holy Week Swift vents his spleen, but it gives us a view of the 
way in which this week was kept by the more part. It is Easter 
Even, April 4, 1713. 

This Passion week, people are so demure, especially this last day. 5 

*The Pylgrymage of Sir Richard Guylforde, ed. by Sir Henry Ellis, Camden 
Society, 1851, No. 51, p. 3. 

a Edward Lake, Officium Eucharisticum, p. 35, the Preparation on Friday. 

3 In a book of Common Prayer, Bodleian Library, press mark : (C. P. 1686. c. i) Dr. 
Bernard has written these words in the upper margin of signature b. vii. 

4 Samuel Horsley, Charges, Dundee, Rintoul, 1813, p. 160. B ibid. p. 198. 


On arriving at Holy Week the Spectator calls attention to the 
custom that 
this Week is in a manner set apart and dedicated to serious Thoughts. 1 

In the same way, at the approach of Easter, Johnson's numbers 
of the Rambler become very nearly sermons. No. 7 written on the 
Tuesday in Holy Week 1750, speaks of the "Solitude, which the 
institutions of the church call upon me, now especially, to men 
tion". And on April 6, 1751, No. no is devoted to the duty of 
penitence. On April 5, 1760 

[the last Idler, No. 103.] is published in that solemn week which the Christian 
world has always set apart for the examination of the conscience, the review 
of life, the extinction of earthly desires, and the renovation of holy purposes. 

This was written in the despised eighteenth century, but most 
holy seasons have been forgotten in the twentieth, except for pur 
poses of amusement. 


On April 4, 1667 being Maundy Thursday, Mr. Pepys remarks 
that the King did not wash the feet himself but the Bishop of London 
did it for him. This statement is borne out by the form and order 
contained in the Appendix to this chapter which it is quite possible 
may be that for the first Maundy of King Charles II. 

In King George the Second's time the ceremonial washing of the 
feet was continued : 

His Grace the Lord Archbishop of York, Lord High Almoner, per- 
form'd the annual Ceremony of washing the Feet of a certain Number of 
Poor in the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, which was formerly done by the Kings 
themselves, in imitation of our Saviour's Pattern of Humility. 2 

And again in 1736 : 

Yesterday being Maunday Thursday, the rev. Dr. Gilbert, subalmoner, 
in the absence of the Archbishop of York, distributed at Whitehall to 53 poor 
men and women, his Majesty's alms. . . . His Grace the Archbishop of 
York washed the feet of so many poor persons in Duke Street chapel : he 
was assisted by the Rev. Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Harter. 3 

On Maundy Thursday, April 3, 1740, it is announced that 

This Day His Majesty's Alms of Linnen, Woollen, Shoes and Stockings, 
for one Shift . . . will be distributed to 5 7 poor Men and Women by Dr. 

1 Spectator, No. 23, Tuesday, March 27, 1711. 
3 Gentleman's Magazine, 1731, April, p. 172, April 15. 

3 Grub Street Journal for April 23, 1736, No. 331. (British Museum, Burney Col 
lection, 306 b.) 


Gilbert, Sub-Almoner to the King ; Who is likewise to wash their Feet, (if 
not already done to his Hand) in Imitation of that Humility, which is so 
great a Satire x etc. 

In 1706, Thomas Hearne has one of his party notes : 

The Queen having order'd Good Friday to be kept strictly in London, 
'twas accordingly observ'd in a most decent and Religious Manner by all 
Friends of the Church, but very negligently and disrespectfully by the Pres 
byterians and the rest of that Brood. 2 

In the first half of the eighteenth century Good Friday was 
noticed in the contemporary journals. We read in one : 

The approaching Anniversary of that Great Day, on which he [Our 
Lord] finish 'd the Work of our Redemption. 3 

And there follows a sort of sermon for Good Friday. Jour 
nalists commonly know the taste of the public for whom they cater, 
and unless there had ' been well-disposed people in abundance, the 
writer would not have ventured on such an article. 

On Good Friday, April 4, 1735, Byrom wandered about 

considering how little the day is regarded ; met Mr. Parker, and went with 
him to the Temple church. 4 

It is somewhat hard to make out how Good Friday was kept 
in London after the passing of the influence of the reign of Queen 
Anne. In 1775 Boswell complains to Johnson that one dis 
advantage arising from the immensity of London was that there 
was no fear of censure for not observing Good Friday as it ought 
to be kept, and as it is kept in country towns. Here Boswell 
testifies to the day being properly kept in English country towns. 
Johnson replies to him that it was on the whole well observed even 
in London. 5 

There must have been a certain amount of observance of Good 
Friday, for it was attacked in an insolent tract published in 1777. 

Good Friday is a rebel against the king of kings, and always when 

1 Champion, 1743, sec. ed. vol. ii. p. 71. 

2 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1885, vol. 
i. p. 208. 

3 The Wanderer, Thursday, April 18, 1717. 

4 Richard Parkinson, The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom, 
Chetham Society, 1857, vol. i. part ii. p. 575. 

*BoswelVs Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. ii. p. 356. 


loyal subjects approach him the traitor lurks behind, skulks among popes 
and priests, and hides his guilty head in a cowl. 1 

Later on he appeals to the ashes of Burnets and Hoadlys and 
Lardners. 2 

But Dr. Pusey writing about 1833 tells us that Good Friday 
was formerly but ill kept in the country : 

It is within the memory of man, that the yearly Commemoration of 
our Blessed Saviour's death was in country congregations very generally 
omitted. This solemn day is now, I trust, almost universally observed. 3 

Miss Reynolds, the sister of Sir Joshua, writes thus of Dr. 
Johnson : 

In Lent, or near the approach of any great festival, he would generally 
retire from the company to a corner of the room, but most commonly be 
hind a window-curtain to pray ... At these holy seasons he usually 
secluded himself more from society than at other times, at least from 
general and mixed society, and on a gentleman's sending him an invitation 
to dinner on Easter-eve he was highly offended. 4 

But his morbid dread of being alone, which impelled him to 
seek solace in the company of those quite below his own intelligence, 
caused him to break this rule of retirement. In 1778 he writes 
on Good Friday : 

It has happened this week, as it never happened in Passion Week 
before, that I have never dined at home, and I have therefore neither 
practised abstinence nor peculiar devotion. 5 

On the last two days of Holy Week his fasting was severe : on 
Good Friday 1773 he writes: 

1 Lewis Carbonell, The History and the Mystery of Good Friday, London, Fielding 
and Walker, 1777, p. 23 [? a dissenting minister, Robert Robinson]. 
z ibid. p. 56. 

3 E. B. Pusey, Tracts for the Times, No. 18. Thoughts on ... Fasting, post 

4 Miss Reynolds, Recollections of Dr. Johnson, in G. Birkbeck Hill, Johnsonian 
Miscellanies, Oxford, 1897, vol. ii. p. 257. The careful editor says that "There is 
nothing to show that he kept any part of Lent but Passion Week " ; but surely he has 
forgotten that Mrs. Piozzi says that " Mr. Johnson, though in general a gross feeder, 
kept fast in Lent, particularly the holy week, with a rigour very dangerous to his 
general health". (Hesther Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, 
London, Cadell, 1786, p. 91.) 

In confirmation of Miss Reynolds' statement about Easter Even, may be remem 
bered a letter to Dr. Taylor : " On the last day of Lent I do not willingly go out ". 
(Letters of Samuel Johnson, ed. by G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1892, vol. i. p. 188.) 

5 Prayers and Meditations, composed by Samuel Johnson, ed. Geo. Strahan, London, 
Cadell, 1785, p. 157. In the year 1781, he dined twice with bishops in Holy Week. 
See Boswell's Life on April 12 for his excuses. 


On this whole day I took nothing of nourishment but one cup of tea 
without milk ; but the fast was very inconvenient. 

On Good Friday 1775 : 

We breakfasted ; I only drank tea, without milk or bread . . . 
Boswel and I went to church, but came very late. We then took tea, by 
Boswel's desire; and I eat one bun, I think, that I might not seem to 
fast ostentatiously. 

On Easter Even he writes : 

After the bread and tea [for breakfast] I trifled, and about three ordered 
coffee and buns for my dinner ... I then went to Evening Prayer and 
was tolerably composed. 

Of the Good Friday of 1776 he says : 

I fasted, though less rigorously than at other times. I, by negligence, 
poured milk into the tea, and, in the afternoon drank one dish of coffee 
with Thrale. 

In 1782, therefore when 73 years old, he says : 

Good Friday. After a night of great disturbance and solicitude, such 
as I do not remember, I rose, drank tea, but without eating and went to 

The next day, Easter Even : 

I was faint \ dined on herrings and potatoes. 

The contempt which Johnson has met with at the hands of 
writers like Macaulay and Cowper for refusing milk and butter on 
Good Friday and Easter Even, is quite undeserved. Once grant 
ing the position that on fasting days some change is to be made in 
diet, it seems reasonable enough that a man like Johnson would 
conform to the rules that Christians have observed from early times, 
some rules more severe than others, but the least severe being ab 
stinence from the flesh of warm-blooded quadrupeds, and of all that 
comes from them. Thus butter and milk are forbidden, and in re 
fusing them Johnson was only following the Christian tradition. 
Macaulay does not understand this, and laughs at " sugarless tea " ; 
tea, coffee, and sugar, being vegetable in origin, would not have been 
forbidden by any rule. 

Edward the Sixth at the most Protestant moment that England 
has ever seen, gave a dispensation, which must therefore have been 
thought necessary, to Sir Philip Hobby, allowing him to eat during 
Lent, and on other fasting days, flesh and milk foods (carnibus et 

1 Thomas Rymer, Fcedera, London, Churchill, 1713, vol. xv. p. 291. 

EASTER. 227 

An Irish clergyman visiting London on Good Friday makes 
this note : 

Good Friday, April 14, 1775, N. B. [Dr.] Dodd did not read the 
Communion service rubrically, for he kneeled at the beginning, and tho' 
it was a fast day, he and his coadjutors wore surplices. 1 

Montagu Robert Melville, sixty years later, advised that on 
fast days there should be no organ played and no surplices worn, 
except by those who read prayers, and at the altar. The preacher 
was to wear gown and hood on these days only. 2 

The first edition oft the Christian Year by the Rev. John Keble 
was published in 1827 but contains no verses for the Restoration. 
The third edition, in 1828, contains the poems now printed after 
the Commination, and a note upon the verses for the Restoration : 

The organ is silent in many Churches during Passion week : and in 
some it is the custom to put up evergreen boughs at Easter as well as at 
Christmas time. 


There is evidence that throughout our period the Communion 
at Easter was well attended. 8 

In remote districts like Llanasa in Wales, we are told by a 
writer in the nineteenth century, the Rev. Elias Owen, that 

Celebrations of the Holy Communion took place in this parish on 
Good Friday, Easter Eve, Easter-Day, and Easter Monday. 4 

The same writer earlier in the book says : 

The parish clerk of Derwen tells me, and I have heard the same thing 
in other parishes, that at Easter-tide all the adults in the parish were in 
the habit of partaking of the Holy Communion. There were three cele 
brations at that season, one on Good Friday, one on Saturday, and one on 
Easterday. In some parishes I have also heard of a celebration on Easter 
Monday. 5 

Easter was also a time for giving alms. Narcissa, under which 
name the reigning Duchess of Hamilton is supposed to be depicted, 

Gave alms at Easter, in a Christian trim, 
And made a Widow happy, for a whim. 6 

Thomas Campbell, Diary of a, visit to England in 1775, Sydney, 1854, p. 71. 

2 Montagu Robert Melville, Reform not subversion ! a proposed book of Common 
Prayer, London, Roake and Varty, 1834, P- 93> Canon xxv. 

3 For some figures giving the attendance, see ch. ii. p. 38. 

4 Elias Owen, Old Stone Crosses of the Vale of Clwyd, Quaritch, 1886, p. 97. 

5 ibid. p. 45. 

6 Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, II, v. 57. Globe ed. 1869, p. 237. 


The same duty is noted as practised at Court. 

Last Sunday being Easter Day, his Majesty, their Royal Highnesses 
the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Princesses, were at the Chapel 
Royal and made their Offering at the Altar according to annual Custom, 
for the Benefit of the Poor. 1 

According to Festa Anglo-Romana this is also a day for the 
offering of the Besant. 2 

Concerning the custom amongst the vulgar to rise early and go out 
into the fields to see the sun dance on Easter Day, Bourne says the 
origin of the habit is that 

devout and holy Men did, in the best Ages of the Church, rise early in 
the Morning of the Resurrection. 3 

The early rising should be to meditate seasonably on the Resur 
rection of Christ, not as the vulgar do to see the sun dance. 


The Rogation Processions may be noticed, for they were continued 
throughout the whole of our period. 4 There are many witnesses to 
their persistence. 

The following notes represent the etymological ideas prevalent 
soon after the Restoration. 

The solemnization of Matrimony is prohibited by the Holy Church 
from the first day in this Week, until Trinity Sunday following. The 
Belgians or Dutch-mvc\ call it Cruys- Week, that is, Cross-Week ; and so 
'tis also nam'd in some Parts of England, because the Priest on these days 
goes in Procession with the Cross before him. 

In the old Saxon 'tis nam'd Gang-dagas, i.e. Dayes of Walking or Per 
ambulation. In the North of England Gang-week, from the ganging or 
going in Procession (for Gang there, as well as in the Saxon, signifies to 
go) from an Antient and Commendable Custome (tho discontinued in the 
time of the late Unnatural Rebellion) to make Perambulations and Proces 
sions with the Young Children in every Parish and Township with us to 
view and understand the Ancient Limits and Boundaries of every Parish. 5 

1 Bath Journal for 1745, Bath, vol. ii. p. 17, April 22, 1745. 

2 Festa Anglo-Romana, London, Jacob, 1678, p. 50. 

3 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, p. 190. Sir 
Thomas Browne (Pseudodoxia Epidemica, sec. ed. Book V. ch. xxi. 16, 1650, London. 
Dod and Ekins, p. 228) holds that it is no more than " a Tropicall expression ". 

4 Mr. Cuthbert Atchley has nearly exhausted the literature of the Rogation processions 
after the Reformation in a paper entitled " Some Notes on Harvest Thanksgivings and 
certain other votive offices " in Transactions of the St. Paul's Ecclesiological Society , 
1905, vol. v. p. 59. 

5 Festa Anglo-Romana, London, Jacob, 1678, p. 60. 


. Anthony Wood speaks by accident of the Rogation procession 
in 1664. 

The next day being Munday it was soe excessive hot that people that 
went a procession in the country about us fainted with heat and the poultry 
in Abington market died with heat. 1 

And yet it was only May 16, when great heat is not to be 
looked for. In 1667 Mr. Pepys notes on another May 1 6 : 

This being Holy Thursday, when the boys go on procession round the 

In 1671 Anthony Wood notes the processioning again : 

June i, Holy thursday, St. Peter's <in the East> parishioners came a 
processioning and took in half Alban hall. Mr. <Robert> Whitehall (the 
sub-warden) and I therefore went to forbid them, telling them that the 
cross should be made by the principall's dore. 2 

In June 1682 Anthony Wood notes the holding of the proces 
sion in the parish of St. John Baptist on Whitsun Monday, June 5, 
not on Ascension day. The Rogations at Milan are held on the 
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after Ascension Day and before 
Pentecost, but this is not 'like what was done at Merton. They 
made the crosses on the houses, as the St. Peter's people had done 
in i67i. 3 

I have been told by a young man who has seen these processions 
at Oxford in this century that the crosses are made with white chalk 
on the houses by the parson or curate. 

An account of these processions in the diocese of St. Asaph in 
1686 is given in the second appendix to this chapter. 

The Rogation Processions were also observed in the North. 

It was a general Custom formerly, and is still observed in some Country 
Parishes, to go round the Bounds and Limits of the Parish, on one of the 
three Days before Holy Thursday, or the Feasts of our Lord's Ascension ; 
when the Minister, accompany 'd with his Church- Wardens ax\& Parishioners, 
were wont to deprecate the Vengeance of God, beg a Blessing on the Fruits 
of the Earth, and preserve the Rights and Properties of their Parish.* 

Bourne has certainly not overstated the frequency of the practice. 
What is most present to the minds of us in the twentieth century 

1 The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. by Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical 
Society, 1892, vol. ii. p. 13. 
*ibid. p. 223. 

3 ibid. vol. iii. p. 20. 

4 Henry Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, Newcastle, J. White, 1725, p. 203. 


is the preservation of the ancient bounds and rights of the parish, 
the last of Bourne's purposes. There were certain places or boundary 
marks, at which they read a Gospel ; but what gospel, whether the 
gospel of the day or some other, is not so clearly indicated. The 
making a station is spoken of by the following writer of the later 
seventeenth century. 

30. And now I have run myself into Divinity, I cannot but note an odd 
custom at Stanlake, where the Parson in the Procession about holy Thursday, 
reads a Gospel at a Barrels head in the Cellar of the Chequer Inn, where 
some say there was formerly a Hermitage ; others that there was anciently 
a Cross, at which they read a Gospel in former times, over which now the 
house, and particularly the cellar being built, they are forced to perform 
it in the manner as above. 1 

In 1750 this custom is enquired after in Visitation Articles : 

Do he and his Parishioners observe the annual Perambulation in 
Rogation Week ? 2 

At Wolverhampton where there was a collegiate church the 
following ceremonies are recorded by a clergyman. 

Among the local customs which have prevailed here may be noticed 
that which was popularly called Processioning. Many of the older inhabi 
tants can well remember when the Sacrist, resident prebendaries, and 
members of the choir, assembled at morning-prayers on Monday and Tues 
day in Rogation week, with the charity-children, bearing long poles cloathed 
with all kinds of flowers then in season, and which were afterwards carried 
through the streets of the town with much solemnity, the clergy, singing men, 
and boys, dressed in their sacred vestments, closing the procession, and 
chanting, in a grave and appropriate melody, the Canticle, Benedicite, omnia 
opera, &c. 

* * * 

The boundaries of the township and parish of Wolverhampton, which 
latter is very extensive, are in many points marked out by what are called 
Gospel trees, from the custom of having the Gospel read under or near them, 
by the clergyman attending the parochial perambulations. Those near the 
town were visited for the same purpose by the Processioners before-men 
tioned, and are still preserved with the strictest care and attention. 3 

It will be noticed that at Wolverhampton they sang a canticle 
in the procession, Benedicite omnia opera, which is an alternative in 

1 [Robert Plot,] The Natural History of Oxfordshire, Oxford, 1677, ch. viii. 30, p. 

2 Articles of Visitation . . . Martin [Benson] Bishop of Glocester, Glocester, Raikes, 
1750, p. 3- 

8 Stebbing Shaw, The history and antiquities of Staffordshire, London, Nichols, 
1801, vol. ii. p. 165. 


the Prayer Book for Te Deum. They do not seem, therefore, to have 
followed the Elizabethan directions that they should sing the two 
psalms that begin Benedic anima mea> that is, the iO3rd and Ip4th, 
with the litany and suffrages, that is the latter part of the litany be 
ginning with the Lord's Prayer. 1 

Late in the eighteenth century an inhabitant of Ripon sets down 
amongst other local customs : 

Some time in the spring, I think the day before Holy Thursday, all 
the clergy, attended by the singing men and boys of the choir, perambulate 
the town in their canonicals, singing hymns ; and the blue-coat charity- 
boys follow, singing, with green boughs in their hands. 2 

It will be noticed how like the ceremonial at Ripon is to that at 

The gospel trees are alluded to by Herrick : 

Dearest, bury me 

Under that Holy-oak or Gospel-tree 
Where, though thou see'st not, thou may'st think upon 
Me, when thou yearly go'st procession. 3 

Writing certainly before 1813, possibly as early as 1795, Brand 
says : 

In London, these parochial processions are still kept up on Holy 
Thursday. 4 

They were in existence in the City of London in 1 870. 

It seems plain from what has been quoted above that these pro 
cessions in the eighteenth century had a distinct religious character ; 
shown by the'canticles, the hymns, the psalms, the reading of a gospel 
by the clergyman ; and thus while the definition of the parish bound 
aries was not forgotten, a blessing on the fruits of the earth was 
asked, and the vengeance of God deprecated, as Bourne has said. 
It may be doubted if nowadays any thought of deprecating the 
vengeance of God would be allowed by the school of Dr. Gore. 
More than once, in proposals for revision of the Prayer Book, 
coming from this quarter, the last verses of Venite which speak of 
the wrath of God have been struck out : and yet the whole of this 

1 Henry Gee and W. J. Hardy, Documents illustrative of English Church History, 
Macmillan, 1896, Document LXXXI, p. 472. 

2 Gentleman's Magazine, 1790, vol. Ix. p. 719, Aug. 18, Signed : Riponiensis. 

3 Robert Herrick, Hesperides, 55, in Works, ed. A. W. Pollard, London, Lawrence 
and Bullen, 1898, vol. i. p. 22. 

4 John Brand, Observations on Popular Antiquities, ed. Henry Ellis, London, 1813, 
vol. i. p. 169, note. 


Invitatory Psalm has been sung for centuries before Mattins with 
out offence. 

The same idea of asking a blessing on the products of the sea 
as well as on the fruits of the earth was to be found in the Isle of 
Man, not necessarily expressed at the Rogations. 

Tho' Herrings are taken all round this Island, yet the main Body of 
the Fisher-Boats goes out from Port Iron, where the Fishermen are attended 
by a Clergyman, who joins with them in a solemn Form of Prayer, on the 
Sea-side, to Almighty God, that he will be pleased to favour their Under 
taking, and bless their Nets with Plenty. 1 

Mr. Pepys observes on May 23, 1661 that Ascension Day was 
kept as a holiday throughout the town ; but this practice must 
very soon have been given up, for the Swedish chaplain, in 1683, 
though pleased with many things in the Church, of England, yet is 
astonished at the neglect of Ascension Day with us. 2 


The keeping of Sunday during our period varied greatly. 
There seem to have been two schools ; one, of much severity, keep 
ing Sunday like a Jewish Sabbath, no relaxation or recreation being 
permitted ; and the other, treating the day almost as if it were any 
other day ; amusements, such as card playing, being allowed by some, 
but servile work being forbidden. Between these two extremes 
many stages may be found. 

It is much to be wished that one of the Puritan school had left 
behind him a book on Sabbatical Casuistry, to tell us what may 
be or may not be done on " the Sabbath " in the opinion of his sect. 
It is not to be supposed that the laws of Massachusetts were ever 
enforced in their rigour in England during our period ; but Sir 
Matthew Hale wrote out in 1662 a set of Directions for keeping the 
Lords Day which were to be observed in his family and which are 
sufficiently severe. Here he gives his opinion upon what may be 
allowed on Sunday ; first, works of absolute necessity, amongst 
which he reckons stopping the breach of a sea wall, milking cows, 
setting a broken bone, dressing meat. But he adds : 

If a rick of Hay be on fire, I may endeavour to quench it on the Lord's 
Day : but if my Corn be cut, and lying abroad upon the ground on the 

1 George Waldron, A Description of the Isle of Man, contained in Compleat Works, 
no place or name, 1731, second pagination, p. 159. 

z Miscellanea, comprising the Works and Letters of Dennis Granville, Surtees 
Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 171. 


Saturday, though the weather be rainy, or inclining to wet, I may not 
make it into Cocks, or fetch it home upon the Lord's Day. 1 

It is hard to see the underlying difference. And he forbids 
recreation : 

I would not have you meddle with any Recreations, Pastimes, or or 
dinary work of your Calling, from Saturday -night at eight of the Clock, 
till Monday-morning? 

So a little further on : 

In all your speeches or actions of this day, let there be no Lightness 
nor Vanity ; use no Running, or Leaping, or Playing, or Wrestling ; use 
no Jesting, nor telling of Tales or foolish Stories, no talk about worldly 
business ; but let your actions and speech be such as the day is, serious 
and sacred. 3 

Here is very marked the strict control derived from the ideas of 
the Puritan Sabbath. Sunday is to be a day of gloom. You are 
to behave all Sunday as you behave at a funeral. 

But on the other hand, immediately after the Restoration the 
Oxford dons seem to have thought it good policy to discourage 
Puritanism, and to suppress an over-strict Sabbatarian observance 
of the Sunday ; which efforts are thus described : 

And, that they might go just antipodes to the intervall time, not to 
hinder, <but> to indulg or connive <at> walking or sports or drinking on 
the Lord's day ; to connive or pass, not to punish, swearing or drunken 
ness or wenching. 4 

* * * 

the strictness of the Lord's day was mitigated, that is to say that people 
might loyter about the streets in sermon time, sit upon benches and bulks 
and talke idely, walk or ride into the feilds, drink in taverns and alehouses, 
etc., all of which were accounted damnable in the intervall. 5 

The interval means the usurpation. 

In the same direction we have Cosin treating of the Ten Com 
mandments and the breaking of the Fourth : 
Offenders against the Fourth Commandment. 
* * * 

2. They that set themselves to needless, worldly and servile affairs upon 
the Sunday. 

# * * 

x [Sir Matthew Hale,] Contemplations Moral and Divine^ London, Shrewsbury, 
1676, in Directions for keeping the Lords Day, p. 85. 

9 ibid. p. 86. ibid. p. 89. 

4 The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, ed. by Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical 
Society, 1891, vol. i. p. 356. 

d ibid. p. 359. 


6. They that, under a pretence of serving God more strictly than others, 
(especially for hearing and meditating of Sermons,) do, by their Fasts and 
certain Judaizing observations, condemn the joyful Festivity of this High 
and Holy day, which the Church allows, first for the spiritual Exercises of 
the Soul ; and then for the lawful and convenient recreation of the Body 
in due time. 1 

This latter paragraph is an attack upon the Puritan practice. 

Dr. Wetenhall, also writing near Puritan times, in his popular 
Enter into thy closet allows on Sunday walking in the fields 2 as a 
recreation : this was to the Puritan only one of many forms of 
Sabbath breaking. 

Robert Nelson says we keep the Lord's day by 

Setting it apart for the Exercises of Religious Duties, both in Publick and 
Private ; abstaining from the Works of our ordinary Calling, or any other 
worldly Affairs and Recreations, which may hinder our attendance upon 
the Worship of God, and are not reconcilable with solemn Assemblies, and 
may defeat those Ends for which the Day was separated from common uses. 3 

So farther on we are warned 

to take care that no Sowerness or Moroseness mingle with our serious 
frame of Mind. 4 

To return to what was actually done. Anthony Wood complains 
in 1679 that the Mayor of Oxford, Robert Pauling, 

prohibits coffee to be sold on Sunday, which Dr. Nicholas, vice-chan 
cellor, prohibited onlie till after evening prayer, viz. till five of the clock ; 
but this R. Pauling hath been bred up a Puritan. 5 

Coffee houses were much resorted to in Oxford at this time, and 
it may be supposed that the prohibition of coffee spoken of is the 
closing of the coffee houses on Sunday. Here we have again the 
contrast between the two schools. 

In 1715 the Vice-Chancellor and Hearne paid a visit to the 
Schools Tower on a Sunday and inspected documents. 6 

It may be noticed that good Mr. Evelyn made a journey on a 
Sunday in which he accompanied Lord Essex to Cassiobury. 

1 John Cosin, A Collection of Private Devotions, London, Royston, 1681. 

2 [E. Wetenhall,] Enter into thy closet, London, Martyn, 1672, 4th ed. p. 210. 

3 Robert Nelson, A Companion for the Feastivals and Fasts of the Church of Eng 
land, London, Churchill, 1705, 3rd ed. p. 14 (under Lord's Day). 

4 ibid. p. 20. 

5 Life and Times of Anthony Wood, edited by Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical 
Society, 1892, vol. ii. p. 463. 

6 Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1901, vol. v. 
p. 109. 


(April 1 8, 1680.) Going early they arrived at the house at ten, 
but thought it too late to go to church; so they had prayers 
in the chapel. 

This most worthy man gives a charming description of the way 
in which Mrs. Godolphin spent her Sundays : 

How would this Lady rejoyce att the approach of the Lord's day. 
She has often told me she felt another soule in her ; and that there was 
nothing more afflicted her than those impertinent visitts on Sunday Even 
ings, which she avoided with all imaginable industry ; whilst yett seldome 
did she pass one without goeing to visitt, pray by, or instruct some poor 
religious Creature or other, tho' it were to the remotest part of the Towne ; 
and sometymes, if the season were inviteing, walke into the fields or 
Gardens to contemplate the workes of God. In a word, she was allwayes 
soe solemnly chearfull upon that day, and soe devout, that without lookeing 
into the Kalendar, one might have read it in her countenance. Thus was 
the Sunday taken up in prayers, hearing, receiveing, meditateing on the 
word and workes of God, acts of Charity, and other holy exercises, without 
the least formalitye or confusion ; because she had cast all her affairs into 
such a method, as rendered it delightfull as well as holy. 1 

Passing into the eighteenth century we may consider the more 
reasonable episcopal pronouncements of the time. 

In 1710 Dr. Fleetwood, when Bishop of St. Asaph, spoke well 
of the Book of Sports, which is the more remarkable as he has the 
reputation of being a Low Churchman and a Whig. 

The Book of Sports it self, (which was but a Declaration put out by 
James I. and afterwards unhappily reviv'd in the Day of K. Charles, his 
Son) as odious, and licentious as it was esteem'd, did yet prescribe such 
Rules, as I should be glad were now observ'd, in some places, in Honour 
of the Lords-Day. 2 

He then recounts the restrictions, as obliging presence at Divine 
Service, while the sports did not begin till after Evening Prayer. 

Dr. Seeker in his second charge as Bishop of Oxford in 1741, 
insists upon the joyful character of the Christian Sunday. 

And therefore, though one would not by any Means make their Day 
of Rest wearisome, nor forbid Cheerfulness, and even innocent Festivity 
upon it, much less the Expressions of neighbourly Civility and Good-will, 
which are indeed a valuable Part of the gracious Ends of the Institution : 
yet employing a reasonable Share of it seriously at Home as well as at 
Church, and preserving an especial Reverence of God even throughout 
the freer Hours of it. 3 

1 John Evelyn, The Life of Mrs. Godolphin, London, Sampson Low, 1888, p. 171. 

2 Articles of Enquiry exhibited by . . . William [Fleetwood] Lord Bishop of St. 
Asaph, 1710, no printer, p. 39. 

3 Thomas Seeker, Eight Charges, London, Rivington, 1771, p. 75. 


In an Instruction for Sunday morning, Dr. Thomas Wilson, 
the saint-like Bishop of Sodor and Man, speaks thus : 

It is your duty, therefore, on this good day^ to lay aside, as much as 
possible, all worldly business, all worldly thoughts, all worldly pleasures, 
that you may honour your Creator to the best of your power : by owning 
your dependance upon Him ; by hearing His Word and His commands ; 
by asking His blessings, and giving Him thanks for His favours. 1 

The same bishop in his Instruction to Indians has this question 
and answer : 

Ind. ' How is the Lord's day profaned ? ' 

Miss. By . . . idleness and trifling conversation ; unnecessary business 
and journeys ; and by vain sports and gaming^ unbecoming the seriousness 
of the day and of Christianity. 2 

This bishop is more inclined to take up a severe attitude to 
wards the keeping of Sunday than some of his brethren. 

Following is an interesting reason for allowing ourselves to call 
Sunday the Christian Sabbath : because Our Lord rested from 
the work of our salvation on that day. 

And the resurrection of Christ^ wherein he rested from all the labours 
of his love towards mankind, and finished the great work which his Father 
had given him to do, being the great evidence of our spiritual and eternal 
redemption by him ; it was very reasonable that \h& Jewish sabbath should 
withdraw, and give place to the day, when old things were done away, 
and all things thus became new, in virtue of his resurrection. 3 

The Rev. Moses Browne, who is said to have been the chief 
poetical contributor to the Gentleman s Magazine of his time, was 
not prepared to enforce a Judaizing law for Sunday, so as to for 
bid walking in the fields on that day. These are his verses : 

away ! ye gloom'd 

O'er-rigid race ! Stiff pharisees in creed I 
Who gospel-saints by sabbatary forms 
Would bind ; that vassalage of legal rest.^ 

Even now, when the University in England has become an 
agnostic institution, it may be doubted if a convocation would be 
held at Oxford on a Sunday. Yet in 1759 a letter from the King 

1 Thomas Wilson, Plain and Short Directions and Prayers, in Works, Anglo- 
Catholic Library, Oxford, Parker, vol. iv. p. 109. 

2 Thomas Wilson, The Knowledge and Practice of Christianity, Part II. Dialogue 
xiii. in Works, as above, vol. iv. p. 239. 

3 Richard Fiddes, Theologia Practical or, the second part of a body of divinity, 
London, Bernard Lintot, 1720. Introduction, p. viii. 

4 Moses Browne, Sunday Thoughts, London, 1750, Part ii. p. 49. 


of Prussia was " On Sunday last read to the doctors and masters 
in full convocation". 1 In the eighteenth century the University 
of Oxford was part of the Church of England, and in its practice 
may be held to represent the teaching of that Church. For it 
should be remembered that throughout our period the two Uni 
versities of Oxford and Cambridge were part and parcel of the 
Church of England Later on, these ancient bodies underwent, at 
the hands of the nineteenth century parliaments, changes far greater 
than they had ever before experienced in the sixteenth century. 

A popular novel that went through at least six editions attri 
butes the following opinions to a devout nobleman : 

My Lord is of opinion that Sunday was intended as a day of rejoicing, 
not of mortification. 

and a little farther on : 

It is worth observing that the book of sports was put forth by the 
pious, the religious, the sober Charles the First ; and the law for the more 
strict observation of Sunday passed in the reign of the libertine Charles 
the Second. 2 

To turn now to the practice of people that thought themselves 
fashionable. On Sunday the Hon. Mrs. Osborn writing from Bath 
in 1721, says she goes " to Church and to return all my Visits". 3 

So Miss Burney (Madame D'Arblay) tells us that in 1778 Mrs. 
Montagu invited all to a house warming on Easter Day. 4 

Further, in June 1780 the same diarist records that being at 
Bath with Mrs. Thrale one Sunday, the Bishop of Peterborough, 
who must then have been Dr. Hinchcliffe, " proposed a frolic " after 
dinner, which was, to go and drink tea at Spring Gardens. Mrs. 
Thrale found she had invited a number of people to her house for 
the afternoon. So that here we have a Bishop enjoying a " frolic " 
on a Sunday and Mrs. Thrale, without any suspicion of causing 
scandal, entertaining a large party of friends on the same day. 5 

A Sunday shortly after, Miss Burney attends a large party at 
Mrs. Byron's. 6 

These large parties on Sundays may be contrasted with the 

1 Annual Register, 1759, August, seventh edition, London, 1783, p. 105. 

2 The History of Lady Julia Mandeville, a new edition, London, Dodsley [1763], 
vol. i. pp. 180, 181. 

3 Mrs. Sarah Osborn, Political and Social Letters of a Lady of the eighteenth 
century, 1721-1771, Griffith Farran, about 1890, p. 21. 

4 Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, London, Colburn, 1842, vol. i. p. 126. 

5 ibid. pp. 369-371. 6 ibid. p. 390. 


scruples of the mid-nineteenth century. Lady Palmerston, during 
the zenith of her husband's power, had assemblies on the Saturday 
evenings, and the papers were careful to record that the company 
separated shortly before midnight. 

But it is clear that the non-observance of Sunday went much 
farther than giving tea parties on that day. Dr. Home, the Bishop 
of Norwich, sarcastically observes that 

The idea of a Sunday, unenlivened by a little innocent play, is a very 
dull and dreary one. 1 

In a number of the Rambler (No. 10.) ascribed to Mrs. Chapone 
we read : 

Lady Racket sends compliments to the Rambler, and lets him know, 
she shall have cards at her house every Sunday. 

In No. 100. attributed to Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, the translator 
of Epictetus, she implores the Rambler to enlarge on the very ex 
tensive benefit of playing at cards on . Sunday. 

No. 30. also attributed to another pen than Johnson's, speaks in 
the name of Sunday ; but would appear to aim at a Via media, not 
Puritan, nor continental. 

From Dublin it was reported that a lady of considerable rank 
gave card parties and drums on Sunday evenings. But a number 
of gentlemen stopped a Sedan chair going to the party, and told the 
occupant she was a very wicked woman to play cards on the Sunday. 2 
It may be asked did not the party of gentlemen commit an offence, 
according to their own rules, in stopping a Sedan chair on a Sunday ? 
It needs a mind of much acuteness and experience in casuistry to 
find reason why one thing like card playing should be wrong, yet 
another kind of amusement, as music, be lawful. 

Thus the other stricter side of Sunday observance makes itself 
felt. William Law's asceticism appears in his treatment of Sunday 
amusements. He says : 

Not only you, but the Generality of Readers, would think it very 
improper, and contrary to Piety, to read Plays on the Sundays? 

But it is to be remembered that William Law held all kinds of 
stage performances to be forbidden to Christians ; so that the reading 
of a play would very likely be as sinful as going to the theatre. 

1 Olla Podrida, No. 29, sec. ed. London, Dilly, 1788, p. 289. 

2 Annual Register, 1760, March i, seventh ed. Dodsley, 1789, Chronicle, p. 87. 

3 William Law, A practical Treatise upon Christian Perfection, ch. x. ed. J. J. 
Trebeck, London, Spottiswoode, 1902, p. 266. 


The behaviour of the half pious people on Sunday may be told 
us by William Law : 

If you visit Flavta on the Sunday, you will always meet good company, 
you will know what is doing in the world, you will hear the last lampoon, be 
told who wrote it, and who is meant by every name that is in it. ... 
Flavia thinks they are Atheists that play at cards on the Sunday, but she 
will tell you the nicety of all the games, what cards she held, how she play d 
them, and the history of all that happened at play as soon as she comes 
from Church. . . . But still she has so great a regard for the holiness of the 
Sunday, that she has turned a poor old widow out of her house, as a pro- 
phane wretch, for having been found once mending her cloaths on the Sunday 
night. 1 

Parson Adams expresses great horror at gaming for as much as 
a whole guinea, which might perhaps be allowed in holiday times ; 
but worse appears : 

the holy Sabbath is, it seems, prostituted to these wicked revellings ; and 
card-playing goes on as publicly then as on any other day. 2 

In the celebrated Brown's Estimate, the author, dealing with the 
observance of Sunday, says 

To suppose a Man of Fashion swayed in his Conduct by a Regard to 
Futurity is an Affront to the Delicacy and Refinement of his Taste. Hence 
the Day set apart by the Laws of his Country for religious Service he 
derides and affronts as a vulgar and obsolete Institution. 3 

How far we may ask does this tirade represent the real state of 
affairs ? For almost in the next page he asks 

Why in an Age of Irreligion, so capital a Book as the Writings of Lord 
Bolingbroke, met with so cold a Reception in the World ? 

It will be suggested that the answer may be that the age was not 
so irreligious as Dr. Brown more than insinuated. 
A journalist satirically remarks that 

The Red-letter days pointed out in our common Almanacks may perhaps 
be observed by some formal ladies, who regulate their going to church by 
them ; but people of quality percieve no difference between the Moveable and 
Immoveable Feasts and Fasts, and know no use of Sunday but as it serves 
to call them to the card-table. 4 

He has already said that 

1 William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, ch. vii. sixth edition, 
London, Innysand Richardson, 1753, p. 97. 

2 Henry Fielding, The True Patriot, Tuesday, January 28, 1746, in Works, ed. Murphy 
and Browne, London, Bickers, 1871, vol. viii. p. 115. 

8 John Brown, A n estimate of the manners and principles of the times, London, 
1757, sec. ed. vol. i. sect. vi. p. 54. 

4 Connoisseur, No. 99, Dec. 18, 1755, p. 596, 


Going to church may indeed be reckoned among our Sunday amuse 
ments. 1 

Dr. Robert Bolton, Dean of Carlisle, was born in 1697 and 
died in 1763, and he may be looked upon as a strict upholder of 
Puritan principles in the keeping of the Sunday. He does not 
seem to allow of a walk on the Sunday. 2 He forbids card playing 
on a Sunday, 3 but this restriction is not unusual. 

Already in Hannah More's time it was positively held unlawful 
to listen to music on a Sunday. A note from her dated Farn- 
borough Place, 1777, says: 

On Sunday evening, however, I was a little alarmed ; they were pre 
paring for music (sacred music was the ostensible thing) but before I had time 
to feel uneasy, Garrick turned round, and said, ' Nine, you are a Sunday 
woman; retire to your room I will recal you when the music is over.' 4 

" Nine" was a nickname given Hannah More by Garrick. The 
very idea of music on a Sunday was enough to drive her to her 

Queen Charlotte in 1761 held a Court on Sundays after service: 

On Sunday we went to Court again, as every Thursday and Sunday a 
large reception of both ladies and gentlemen is held by the Queen. 5 

And King George the Third was in the habit of holding a re 
ception at Windsor on Sunday while a band played. In a letter 
from Sir James Stonhouse, baronet, physician, and priest, to Miss 
Sarah More, the sister of Hannah More, dated Oct. 17, 1791, he 
speaks thus : 

The music on the terrace on Sundays is pregnant with evil from Wind 
sor to London ; it infects all the neighbourhood ten miles round Windsor, 
and oh ! what an irreligious example to the youths of Eton ! 6 

This brings us to the often repeated story of an Archbishop of 
Canterbury being reprimanded by King George the Third for giving 
entertainments on Sunday at Lambeth. This at least is the usual 

1 Connoisseur, No. 26, July 25, 1754, p. 154. 

2 Robert Bolton, A Letter to an Officer . . . on travelling on Sundays, London, 
Rivington, 1757, p. 27. 

* idem, A Letter . . . on Card Playing on the Lord's Day, London, Leake, 1748. 

4 Memoirs of . . . Mrs. Hannah More, edited by William Roberts, Seeley, 1834, 
vol. i. p. 113. 

5 Count Frederick Kielmansegge, Diary of a Journey to England in the years 1761- 
62, Longmans, 1902, p. 27. 

6 Memoirs . . . of Mrs. Hannah More, ed. by William Roberts, sec. ed. Seeley, 
1834, vol. ii. p. 283. 


interpretation of the letter. But there are difficulties in the way of 
accepting this interpretation. In the first place, in the letter the 
text of which is relied upon for this statement, there is no mention 
of Sunday at all. Secondly, the objections of the King apply rather 
to the introductions of " routs," that is, soirees, or evening assemblies, 
into the seclusion of an archiepiscopal house, which the King says 
has been devoted for centuries to divine studies, religious retirement, 
and the extensive exercise of charity and benevolence. Such recep 
tions, though in the nineteenth century these were thought harmless 
enough in a bishop's house, yet to the feeling of the King, were very 

It does not appear from any part of the letter that it was 
the day that offended the King's sense of the fitness of things, but 
the place in which the entertainments were held. We know also 
the King's own contrary Sunday practice at Windsor, Weymouth, 
and Kensington, from which the remonstrances of Dr. Porteous and 
Dr. Barrington, the Bishops of London and Durham, could not move 
him. Here is the evidence of a writer who appears to have some 
private sources of information : 

A good deal has been said in recent discussions on the Sunday amuse 
ment controversy, of King George's Sunday bands at Kensington and on 
the Weymouth esplanade ; and these have generally been cited only as 
instances of the laxer usage of that time, under so religious a sovereign. 
But the truth is that the King upheld these practices with all his decision of 
character, and against a good deal of opposition. It is said that he was 
countenanced in them by Bishop Douglas, the only clergyman who after the 
death of Hurd appears to have had much influence with him. The story 
ran that he consulted Douglas as to the propriety of Sunday amusements, at 
the time when Bishops Porteous and Barrington were endeavouring to re 
strain them. Douglas told him not to mind them, * for the first was a 
Methodist, and the last only followed the first.' Porteous, who objected to 
the ' Sunday esplanade ' at Weymouth, is said to have made the King so 
angry that he would not speak to him for some days. 1 

The following text of the royal letter comes neither from the 
King nor the Archbishop ; but, thanks to the kindness of the Rev. 
Claude Jenkins, Librarian at Lambeth Palace, it is taken from a 
printed quarto sheet of four pages belonging to Miss D. F. Ellison, 
whereon is given a letter purporting to be written by Dr. John Jebb, 
who was Bishop of Limerick from 1822 to 1833. The letter is 
dated Feb. 1808, and deals with the impropriety of clergymen 

1 George III. and Charles James Fox, in the Quarterly Review, 1859, vol. cv. p. 479 



being present at fashionable amusements. On p. 4, after Dr. Jebb's 
letter, is printed this letter from King George the Third. Earlier 
than this printed sheet I have been unable to trace the King's 
letter. I cannot help expressing some of the hesitation which I 
should feel if called upon to accept the text as authentic. 

My good Lord Primate, 

I could not delay giving you the notification of the grief and 
concern with which my breast was affected, at receiving authentic informa 
tion that routs had made their way into your palace. At the same time I 
must signify to you my sentiments on this subject, which hold these levities 
and vain dissipations as utterly inexpedient, if not unlawful, to pass in a 
residence, for many centuries devoted to divine studies, religious retire 
ment, and the extensive exercise of charity and benevolence ; I add, in a 
place where so many of your predecessors have led their lives in such 
sanctity as has thrown lustre on the pure religion they professed and 
adorned. From the dissatisfaction with which you must perceive I behold 
these improprieties, not to speak in harsher terms, and in still more pious 
principles, I trust you will suppress them immediately : so that I may not 
have occasion to show any further marks of my displeasure, or to interpose 
in a different manner. 

May God take your Grace into His Almighty protection ! I remain, 
my Lord Primate, Your gracious friend, 

G. R. 1 

In like manner King Lewis the Sixteenth rebuked the Arch 
bishop of Narbonne for offences far greater than any suggested in 
the foregoing letter. The censure had a precedent a thousand 
years old. Charles the Great used to deal very freely with his 
bishops and abbots. 

Kings and members of Royal Families are more often the 
subjects of myth than common folk. It is said, for example, that 
Quicunque Vult being in due course recited before King George 
the Third, he shut the book with such emphasis and such gesture 
of disapproval that the chaplains never again dared to recite the 
symbol in his presence. The following seems a more trustworthy 
account, being furnished by Dr. Heberden, physician to the King 
and Queen. 

The clergyman there, on a day when the Athanasian Creed was to be 
read, began with Whosoever will be saved, &c. ; the King, who usually 

1 The letter is also printed in some of the lives of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, 
who claims to have moved the King to write the letter, as a protest against Sunday 
amusements at Lambeth. (Life and Times, London, Painter, 1844, vol. ii. p. 283. 
Also Sarah Tytler, The Countess of Huntingdon and her circle, London, Sir Isaac 
Pitman, 1907, p. 125.) 


responded with a loud voice, was silent ; the minister repeated, in a higher 
tone, his Whosoever ; the King continued silent ; and at length the 
Apostle's f Creed was repeated by the minister, and the King followed 
him throughout with a distinct and audible voice. 1 

The reasonable interpretation is that the King could not find 
the place. We often see this in congregations at the present time. 

It must be owned that the rules set down for the keeping of 
Sunday by many authors seem arbitrary, and not easy to explain 
consistently upon any good grounds. If we regard the Fourth 
Commandment as binding upon Christians as it was upon Jews, 
then the position held by Sir Matthew Hale is intelligible, except 
that Sunday is not Saturday. If with Thorndike we conclude that 
Sunday is not of divine ordination, but is solely a matter of eccle 
siastical observance, 2 it will be a troublesome matter to draw a line 
dividing lawful from unlawful relaxations and amusements. 

Dr. Johnson, as ever, was not consistent in his opinions on the 
way in which Sunday should be kept. A friend, Mrs. Thrale tells us, 

looking out on Streatham Common from our windows one day, lamented 
the enormous wickedness of the times, because some bird-catchers were 
busy there one fine Sunday morning. " While half the Christian world is 
permitted (said he) to dance and sing, and celebrate Sunday as a day of 
festivity, how comes your puritanical spirit so offended with frivolous and 
empty deviations from exactness. Whoever loads life with unnecessary 
scruples, Sir (continued he), provokes the attention of others on his 
conduct, and incurs the censure of singularity without reaping the reward 
of superior virtue." 3 

It seems as if this remark had been provoked by the speech of 
the visitor who cried out on the abominable crime of catching birds 
on a Sunday ; for nearly all that we have of Johnson's conversation 
when he was not excited by his love of contradiction is in favour 
of keeping a strict Sunday. Thus about bird catching Boswell 
reports : 

Dr. Johnson enforced the strict observance of Sunday. " It should 
be different (he observed) from another day. People may walk, but not 
throw stones at birds. There may be relaxation, but there should be no 
levity." 4 

1 Anecdotes of the Life of Richard Watson, Bishop of Llandaff, London, Cadell 
& Davies, 1817, p. 243. 

2 Herbert Thorndike, Of the Laws of the Church, Book III. ch. xxi. 19, in Theo 
logical Works, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1853, Vol. IV. part ii. p. 497. 

3 Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. by Hesther Lynch Piozzi, second 
ed. London, Cadell, 1786, p. 228. 

4 J. Boswell, Journal of a tour to the Hebrides, Aug. 20, 1773. 



Much the same is the purport of another dictum. 

He said he would not have Sunday kept with rigid severity and gloom, 
but with a gravity and simplicity of behaviour. 1 

Later on he said to Boswell : 

I do not like to read anything on a Sunday, but what is theological ; 
not that I would scrupulously refuse to look at anything which a friend 
should shew me in a newspaper ; but in general, I would read only what 
is theological. 2 

and on another day : 

Sunday (said he) was a heavy day to me when I was a boy. My 
mother confined me on that day, and made me read ' The Whole Duty 
of Man.' 3 

No one makes any claim for Good Friday that the observance 
of the day is of divine obligation ; yet Boswell notes : 

I observed that he would not even look at a proof-sheet of his Life of 
Waller on Good Friday. . . . 

He, however, observed, that formerly there might have been a dis 
pensation obtained for working on Sunday in the time of harvest. Indeed in 
ritual observances, were all the ministers of religion what they should be, 
and what many of them are, such a power might be wisely and safely 
lodged with the Church. 4 

If the observance of Sunday be a part of the divine law, the 
Church cannot dispense with the observance, as Johnson here says 
it might; if so, it follows that Sunday is only an ecclesiastical 
holiday, according to Johnson. Much in the same way Ralph 
Thoresby, who was prosecuted for nonconformity in 1683, yet in 
1678 enters in his Diary of February : 

23. Die Dom. Constrained utterly against my mind to travel from 
Royston to Stamford, though the Lord's day ; but either do so, or be left 
upon the road about a hundred miles from home and not knowing a foot 
of the way. 5 

This is some evidence that a non-conforming Puritan did not 
consider the obligation on Sunday to abstain from travelling to be 
of divine obligation : for if it were, he should have suffered any 
inconvenience rather than break a divine command. 

Christmas is only an ecclesiastical festival, and travelling may 
not be thought forbidden on the day. Yet Fielding introduces 

1 BoswelVs Life of Johnson, September, 1769, vol. ii. p. 72. 

2 James Boswell, Journal of a tour to the Hebrides, October 17, 1773. 

3 BoswelPs Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. i. p. 67. 

4 ibid. April 17, 1778. 

5 The diary of Ralph Thoresby, ed. Joseph Hunter, London, 1830, vol. i. p. 13. 


Parson Adams describing a mere boy who, after his kind, pretends 
to every vice conceivable : 

[Mr. Wilson] asked our spark when he left London ? To which he 
answered, the Wednesday before. 'How, Sir,' said I, 'travel on Christ 
mas-day?' 'Was it so,' says he, 'fags! that's more than I knew; but 
why not travel on Christmas-day as well as any other ? ' ' Why not ? ' 
said I, lifting my voice ; for I had lost all patience. ' Was you not brought 
up in the Christian religion ? Did you never learn your catechism ? ' l 

Fags is most likely the same as Ifegs, which N.E.D. says is 
used by i8th century dramatists as a trivial oath, by my faith. 

Yet some thirty years later a beneficed clergyman thinks he 
causes no scandal by openly leaving his parish for London as soon 
as the duty of the Sunday is over. The Rev. Stotherd Abdy, 
Rector of Cookersale, who died in 1773, has left behind him a 
journal of a visit from Essex into Berkshire. It begins : 

On Sunday Sept. gth 1770, as soon as the Evening Service was over, 
Mrs Abdy and myself set off Post for Saville Row, and came to Sir Anthony's 
Door there, soon after seven. 2 

The next Sunday they had a drive ; we " read the Newspapers, 
chatted over our Letters, and made Bouts rimes verses, till we were 
called to supper ". Bouts rimes were a degenerate kind of wit, only 
the two final rhymes being given, and the rest of the verse had to 
be supplied by the society poet. After supper, as the ladies resolved 
to be dumb, the evening was spent somewhat hilariously ; what was 
called in 1870 a bear fight followed (a kind of entertainment during 
which it could be looked for that the two front teeth might be 
knocked out), glasses of water thrown over gentlemen's legs, ladies' 
caps and hats pulled off, and the like. 3 

Let us compare this travelling on Sunday and merry making 
with the ideas of Miss Austen, who thinks a young woman well 
advised to reject a suitor because 

She saw that there had been bad habits ; that Sunday travelling had 
been a common thing. 4 

It would seem that we must conclude that in the latter half of 
the eighteenth century in some clerical circles travelling on Sundays 
was thought quite allowable ; in others, scandalous. 

1 The true Patriot, No. 10, Tuesday, January 28, 1746, in Fielding's Works, ed. 
Murphy and Browne, Bickers, 1871, vol. viii. p. 117. 

2 Lady Alice Archer Houblon, The Houblon Family, London, Constables, 1907, 
vol. ii. p. 118, ch. v. 

s ibid., p. 127. 

4 Jane Austen, Persuasion, ch. xvii. It is said to have been written between 1811 
and 1816. 


Boswell put a case of conscience to Johnson concerning con 
sultations on Sunday. Much the same conclusion is arrived at as 
before that the obligation to keep Sunday may be dispensed. 

I asked Johnson whether I might go to a consultation with another 
lawyer upon Sunday, as that appeared to me to be doing work as much in my 
way, as if an artisan should work on the day appropriated for religious rest. 

JOHNSON. c Why, Sir, when you are of consequence enough to oppose 
the practice of consulting upon Sunday, you should do it : but you may go 
now. It is not criminal, though it is not what one should do, who is 
anxious for the preservation and increase of piety, to which a peculiar ob 
servance of Sunday is a great help. The distinction is clear between what 
is of moral and what is of ritual obligation.' l 

Johnson on his deathbed made three requests to Sir Joshua 
Reynolds : 

The second demand was that Sir Joshua should not paint on Sundays. 
To this a small degree of hesitation appeared, but however no positive objec 
tion was made. 2 

This request, if regarded by Johnson as of moral obligation, 
does not seem consistent with his opinion offered to Boswell, for 
the moral law is immutable and cannot be dispensed with ; but the 
ecclesiastical law can be dispensed by the same authority that 
enacted it. No school in this matter seems to have been quite 
consistent during our period. 

One sign of the coming reaction against the Evangelical Sab 
batarianism is given in a pamphlet on Church Reform published in 
1834. The writer allows sober and temperate amusements after 
service on Sunday. 3 

From a review of what is known of the observance of Sunday 
in our period it would seem just to infer that throughout all the 
early part of it, until towards the end of the eighteenth century, 
Church people kept the Sunday in two ways ; one set allowing re 
laxation and amusements after attendance at church ; the other for 
bidding all amusements, limiting reading to the Bible, or theolog 
ical books, and making the day gloomy. Towards 1 800 this latter 
party got a complete upper hand, and their domination lasted to 
the end of our period and beyond. 

1 BoswelVs Life of Johnson, May 12, 1775. 

2 Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the late Dr. Samuel Johnson, London, J. 
Walker, 1785, p. 181. 

8 Montagu Robert Melville, Reform not subversion I a Proposed Book of Common 
Prayer, London, Roake and Varty, 1834, p. 88. 





[From British Museum, Harl. MS. 3795.] 

f. 28.] The service to be don on Maundy thursday by the Lord 

Bishop Almoner. 

1. Scaffolds and boxes to be made round the roome and an high 
scaffold for the gentlemen of the Chappell with a moveable organ. 

2. The Lords who dine with the Lord Almoner bring him into his 
chaire the subalmoner attending on him, both girt about with linen, and a 
linen Towell in the fashion of a Doctors Tippet ; The Lord Almoner taking 
his chaire with a deske before him, kneeles downe ; The gentlemen of the 
chappell begin prayers ; The exhortation, confession, with a proper psalme, 
for the worke of the day ; Then part of the 1 3th chapter of St. John, from 
ist verse to the i8th. When the chapter is read, the Lord Almoner marches 
downe to the first poore man, takes a sprigg of Hysop, and Sprinckles the 
water on his foot, wipes it with his Towell, and kisses it, and does all this 
kneeling ; soe to every poore man in his order, then returnes to his seate, 
after which an Anthem is sung. 

3. After the Anthem the 2nd offering is brought in, vizt. the stockings 
and shoes by the Guard in theire rich coates ; the sub-almoner taking it 
from the guard, and delivers it to the Lord Almoner, and he bestowes it to 
every poore man, after this, another Anthem. 

4. That service don, the Wardrobe brings in theire clothes, linen and 
woollen ; after that the Anthem. 

5. That service don, the clerkes of the Treasury bring in their 
purses : first, white purses, in every purse 3 1 single pence ; then red purses 
in every one of them 205. The sub-almoner takes all gives it to the Lord 
Almoner : soe after every service the Lord Almoner returnes to his seate, 
then an Anthem. 

f. 29.] 6. After this then the Guard brings in a jowle of Linge, a jowle 
of Salmon, and some Herings, to every poore body, the sub-almoner taking 



it and gives it to the Lord Almoner, and he to the poore ; then is read 
the 25th chapter of St Matthew begining i4th verse ; and soe reade to 
the end of the chapter : After that the blessing is pronounced. 

Then the Lord Almoner calls for Wine and drinkes to all the poore 

the Kings health, and bids them * againe be thankeful to God and 

the King, 
f zgb.] Maundy Service. 

* scored through. 




[Bodleian MS. Tanner 30. f. 23.] 

Directions for my Brethren of the Clergy that shall officiate in the 


*By William [Lloyd] Lord Bishop of S. Asaph. A.D. I686. 1 

On every day of perambulation, the Incumbent or Curate, and the 
Church-Wardens and other parishioners, that are to make the perambula 
tion, are to meet together at the Parish Church or Chappel, and there to 
have the prayers appointed for the day : or in case the perambulation that 
day will be so large that they cannot well afford time for the full Prayers, 
yet at least the Minister ought to begin there with the Confession, Absolu 
tion and Lord's Prayer; and for all the rest of the office for Morning 
Prayer, he may bring it in, in parts, at the severall standings in the peram 
bulation, together with the Psalms and Hymns, and Lessons and Prayers 
that are here recommended for this Purpose. 

At every Standing there ought to be used one or more Psalms, or 
Hymns, a Lesson or Epistle and Gospell, or one of the three Creeds, or 
the ten Commandements, and one or more of the following Collects or 
Prayers. There may be fewer or more according to the time. 

In one Standing where there is a more remarkable bound to be remem- 
bred, it is very fitt that there the Minister should hear one of the Children 
or of the others there present, say his Catechism, or some part of it ; as 
either the Creed, or Commandements, or the Doctrine of Sacraments, etc. 

And in one of the most remarkable Standings it will be fitt to use the 
Litany ; especially if the perambulation should be upon a Wednesday or a 
Friday, because the Church requires the use of the Litany on those days. 

For Psalms to be used in the perambulation, beside the 95th, 96th, 
6yth and the looth, which are used in the office of Common Prayer; I 

[ 1-1 this note in Sancroft's hand.] 


think fitt to recommend these that follow, i, 8, 15, 19, 23, 24, 33, 34, 
37, 65, 103, 104, 107, 133, 144, 145, 147, 148. 

For Hymns I recommend the use of the Te Deum, and the Benedicite. 

For Collects and Epistles and Gospells, those that are appointed in the 
Church for the ist and 2d Sunday in Advent; For the 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 
or 6th Sunday after Epiphany : For Septuagesima, Sexagesima or Quin- 
quagesima : For the 3d Sunday in Lent or the 5th Sunday after Easter : 
For the ist Sunday after Trinity; or for any other Sunday after Trinity, 
especially the 4th or the 8th. 

Of all these Collects, Epistles, and Gospells, there may be used one at 
a Standing, such as the Minister shall chuse. I also recommend the read 
ing of that part of the Gospell, Math. 6. 24, till the end of the Chapter ; 
or the Parable of the sower, Math. 13, from the ist to the 9th verse ; with 
our Saviour's Interpretation from the i8th till the 23d verse. Other such 
parts of Scripture the Minister may chuse at his discretion. But whatso 
ever Lesson he reads it will be fitt to use the Collect of the 2d Sunday in 
Advent after that which he has read. 

For Prayers (beside the Litany as before-mentioned) it will be fitt to 
use the Prayers, or Thanksgivings, for rain, or for fair weather as there 
shall be Occasion ; also the Collect or Prayer for all Conditions of men, 
and the generall Thanksgiving; Also the Thanksgiving for Peace and 
Deliverance from our Enemies, and the Thanksgiving for restoring public 

In the end of Every day of perambulation, the Minister ought to bring 
the People to Church with him, and there to read the Evening Prayer if 
the time will permitt ; or at least to read the last part of it, from the 2d 
Lord's Prayer to the Blessing. 

(f. 23*5) I am sensible of the great Inconveniences that happen, and 
the differences that often arise through the neglect of those yearly peram 
bulations which the Law has required to be made in every parish by the 
Incumbent and Church-Wardens and other parishioners. I therefore re 
quire you to perform your Duty according to Law every year, and this 
year particularly in going your self if you are able, or otherwise in getting 
one that is able to goe for you with your Wardens and other parishioners 
over all the bounds of your parish, and especially those that are doubtfull, 
to the end that they may be kept in memory, if they are not allready quite 

And I desire you to perform this as becometh Christians, with Prayer 
and Thanksgiving to God, and with usefull Lessons and Admonitions to those 
that shall walk the bounds with you. For which purpose I desire you to 
gett your self a Copy of the Directions that I have sent to the Rurall 
Deans for this purpose, and to observe those Directions in your peram 


You are to present the Church-Wardens, if they refuse to walk the 
bounds with you. 

I Commend you to the Grace of God and remain. 

* * 

I 1 wrote to the Bishop, to take Notice of the 4th part of the Homily 
for Rogation -week, compos'd on purpose for these daies : which he pro- 
misd to doe the next perambulation. 

{Endorsed} Bishop of S. Asaph for Rogation. I686. 1 

f 1 " 1 this note in Sancroffs hand.} 



IT is not intended in this chapter to give a complete account of 
the discipline which prevailed throughout our period ; but the object 
in view has been rather to give a certain number of cases which will 
show that discipline was not altogether unknown in the Church of 
England, and if necessary could be invoked for the layman as well 
as for the clergyman. 

Thorndike bears witness to the need of discipline, even if rarely 

If a Christian, after Baptism, fall into any grievous sin, voiding the 
effect of Baptism, can it fall within the sense of a Christian to imagine ; 
That hee can bee restored by a Lord have mercy upon mee ? No, it must 
cost him hot tears, and sighs, and groans, and extraordinary prayers, with 
fasting and almes ; to take Revenge upon himself, to appease Gods Wrath, 
and to mortifie his Concupiscence ; If hee mean not to leave an entrance for 
the same sin again. If his sin bee notorious, so much the more; Because 
hee must then satisfie the Church, that hee doth what is requisite to satisfie 
God ; that is, to appease his wrath, and to recover his Grace. The Church 
may bee many ways hindred, to take account of notorious sin. But the 
Power of the Keyes, which God hath trusted it with, is exercised only in 
keeping such sinners from the Communion, till the Church bee so satis 

And for this Exercise, the time of Lent hath always been deputed by 
the Church. 1 

The particular discipline which the Church of England every 
Ash Wednesday in the Commination Service desires to see restored 
had already fallen into abeyance 2 before the time of Edward VI. in 
whose first Prayer Book the wish begins to appear. I do not know 
if this primitive expulsion of penitents from the church early 

1 Herbert Thorndike, Just Weights and Measures, London, Martin, etc., 1662, p. 
1 20, ch. xviii. 

2 A full and quite sympathetic account of the mediaeval discipline at the beginning 
of Lent is given in a sermon preached on Ash Wednesday about 1793 by Sir Adam 
Gordon. (Collection of Sermons, London, Stockdale, 1796, p. 56.) 



in Lent, and restoration on Maundy Thursday, 1 exist at this 
moment anywhere, either in the East or in the West. But various 
other forms of discipline were known in the Church of England 
throughout our period. 

With the Restoration the Spiritual Courts began again to be 
active, for in 1679 the lawyers reprinted at Oxford Lyndwood's Pro 
vinciate. But the Courts Christian were not popular in the time of 
James the First, and their revival' does not' seem to have been wel 
comed by the Puritans, who, though they were quite willing to see 
discipline exercised upon others, yet did not so well relish it when 
applied to themselves. 

On Nov. 9, 1663, one Blackburne, a Roundhead, comes to Mr. 
Pepys with gossip against the Duke of Albemarle and the late King, 
which Pepys does not seem to have been unwilling to hear. And 
further : 

He says that many pious ministers of the word of God, some thousands 
of them, do now beg their bread : and told me how highly the present 
clergy carry themselves every where, so as that they are hated and laughed 
at by everybody ; among other things, for their excommunications, which 
they send upon the least occasions almost that can be. And I am con 
vinced in my judgement, not only from his discourse but my thoughts in 
general, that the present clergy will never heartily go down with the 
generality of the commons of England ; they have been so used to liberty 
and freedom, and they are so acquainted with the pride and debauchery of 
the present clergy. 

There is an instance of Sancroft, while Archbishop of Canter 
bury, suspending one of his suffragans, Dr. Thomas Wood, Bishop 
of Lichfield and Coventry, for non-residence and other ofTences. 
The instrument is given at length by Dr. D'Oyly, from Bancroft's 
Register. 2 

In 1695, Dr. Watson, Bishop of St. Davids, was deprived by 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Tenison, for simony and other 
offences. Dr. Watson applied to the Court of King's Bench for a 

1 A writer in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal (1905, vol. xviii. p. 419: 1907, 
vol. xix. p. 80) has printed four cases of public penance in our period for breach of the 
seventh commandment, and takes occasion to say that a restoration of this discipline 
is desired every year in the Commination Service of the Church of England. That 
the revival of the particular penance of which instances are given by this writer is 
yearly wished for in the Commination Service can hardly be accepted. The discipline 
at the beginning of Lent, the restoration of which is much to be wished, was already 
obsolete in 1549, and it is this that is spoken of in the book of Common Prayer. 

2 George D'Oyly, Life of William Sancroft, London, John Murray, 1821, vol. i., 
p. 194. 




prohibition, and the litigation went on into the reign of Queen 
Anne. 1 

Chamberlayne thus describes the process for the degradation of 
a clerk : 

And Fourthly, Deprivatio ab Officio, when a Minister is wholly and for 
ever deprived of his Orders ; and this is Depositio or Degradatio, and is 
commonly for some heinous Crime, meriting Death, and is performed by 
the Bishop in a solemn manner, pulling off from the Criminal his Vest 
ments, and other Ensigns of his Order ; and this in the Presence of the 
Civil Magistrate, to whom he is then delivered to be punished, as a Lay 
man for the like Offence. 2 

Of this we have a very marked example in the case of Samuel 
Johnson, Vicar of Coringham in Essex, in the diocese of London, 
in the reign of James the Second. He appears to have committed 
an offence which no Government could overlook, namely, an attempt 
to seduce from their allegiance the men in the King's army and 
navy. Of this offence he was found guilty in the Court of King's 
Bench, and sentenced to stand three times in the pillory, and to be 
whipped by the common hangman from Newgate to Tyburn. 3 
But out of consideration for the Church it was determined to take 
away his Orders from him before submitting him to so humiliating 
a punishment. 

That apprehending 'twou'd be a Scandal to the Clergy to have so 
infamous a Punishment inflicted on a Minister, they desir'd Mr. Johnson 
might be first degraded : in order to which, being a Prisoner in the King's 
Bench, in the Diocess of the Bishop of Winchester, he was summon'd to 
appear the 2oth of November in the Convocation-house of St. Paul's, in the 
Diocess of London, his Living being within that Diocess, and brought 
thither by Habeas Corpus, where he found the Bishops of Durham, Ro 
chester, and Peterborough, Commissioners to exercise the Jurisdiction of 
the Bishop of London during his Suspension, with some Clergymen, and 
many Spectators : A Libel was exhibited against him, charging him with 
great Misbehaviours, tho none were specify 'd nor prov'd. That Mr. 
Johnson demanded a Copy of the Libel, and an Advocate ; both which the 
Bishops deny'd, and immediately proceeded to Sentence ; That he shou'd 
be declared an Infamous Person : That he should be deprived of his Rectory : 
That he should be a mere Layman, and no Clerk ; and be deprived of all 

1 Sir Robert Phillimore, The Ecclesiastical Law of the Church of England, London, 
Stevens, 1873, vol. i. p. 84. 

2 John Chamberlayne, Magnae Britanniae Notitia, London, 22nd edition, 1708, 
p. 256. This paragraph is also to be found in the thirty-eighth edition, 1755, part i. 
p. 194. 

3 These particulars are taken from the entry in Compton's Register, pars i. 
fo. 90. b. See English Historical Review, 1914. 


Right and Privilege of Priesthood: That he should be degraded thereof, and 
of all Vestments and Habits of Priesthood. Against which Proceedings Mr. 
Johnson protested, as being against Law, and the i32d. Canon, not being 
done by his own Diocesan : but his Protestation was refus'd, as was also 
his Appeal to the King in Chancery. After which they proceeded to de 
grade him, by putting a Square Cap on his Head, and then taking it off ; 
by pulling off his Gown and Girdle, which he demanded as his proper 
Goods bought with his Mony : which they promis'd to send him, but he 
cou'd not get 'em till he paid Twenty Shillings. Then they put a Bible 
into his Hands, which he not parting with readily, they took it from him 
by Force. 1 

It is added, however, that in the ceremony of degradation the 
Bishops omitted what was said to be a very important circum 
stance. They omitted to take off his cassock. 

It happen'd they were guilty of an Omission, in not stripping him of 
his Cassock, which as slight a particular as it might seem, render'd his 
Degradation imperfect, and afterwards sav'd him his Benefice, 2 

For after the Revolution, Johnson returned to his living, 
and, no doubt the parish being favourably disposed, they held 
that this small omission nullified the degradation. With less 
attention to niceties and more to the Canons, the House of 
Commons resolved that the degradation was illegal, having been 
performed by the Commissioners, and not by Johnson's proper 
Diocesan, the Bishop of London. 8 

Whiston, who, as Macaulay says, seems ready to believe in 
everything except the Holy Trinity, was, in the reign of Queen 
Anne, banished from the University of Cambridge for his Arian 
opinions. He has printed the documents connected with this pro 
cess. There seems no doubt about the want of orthodoxy in his 
opinions : what astonishes us to-day is that an English University 
should take the slightest notice of such a trifle. The following is 
the sentence pronounced on October 30, 1710. 
In the name of God, Amen. 

I Charles Roderick, Vice chancellor of this University, do decree, de 
clare, and pronounce, that Mr. William Whiston, Mathematick Professor 
of this University, having asserted and spread abroad divers Tenets con 
trary to Religion receiv'd and established by Publick Authority in this 
Realm, hath incurred the Penalty of the Statute, and that he is Banished 
from this University. 4 

1 Some Memorials of Mr. Samuel Johnson, p. xv. in Works, London, Darby, 1710. 

2 ibid. p. xii. 3 Journals of the House of Commons, June 24, 1689, vol. x. p. 194. 
4 William Whiston, An Historical Preface to Primitive Christianity reviv'd, 

London, 1711, Appendix, p. 27. 


Whiston tells us himself that he was refused communion by the 
Bishop of Bristol in I/26. 1 

In like manner, the Rev. John Jackson was refused communion 
atBath in I/35. 2 He had been denied his promotion from B.A. to 
M.A. at Cambridge in 1718 on account of his opinions, which in 
the main were those of Whiston and Clarke. It is said that Jack 
son's tracts are of little importance and they derive what importance 
they have from the notice which Waterland took of them. 3 

Thomas Wilson, the holy Bishop of Sodor and Man, suffered 
severely in his exercise of ecclesiastical discipline. In 1719 Mrs. 
Home, the wife of the Governor of the Island, falsely accused Mrs. 
Puller, a widow woman of good character, of fornication with Sir 
James Pool. Thereupon Archdeacon Horrobin refused Commun 
ion to Mrs. Puller. The matter was carried into the Bishop's Court 
and Mrs. Home was sentenced to ask pardon. This she refused to 
do, and treated the Ecclesiastical Law with contempt; whereupon 
she was censured ; but the Archdeacon admitted her to Communion ; 
and for this offence the Archdeacon himself was suspended. 

Instead of appealing to the Archbishop of York as Metropolitan, 
the Archdeacon threw himself on the Civil power, and the Bishop, 
with his two Vicars-general, was imprisoned on June 29, 1722 for 
non-payment of fines inflicted by the Governor, and detained in 
prison for two months. Here the Bishop appealed from Caesar's 
servants to Caesar himself, with the result that 

The King and Council reversed all the proceedings of the officers of 
the island, declaring them to be oppressive, arbitrary, and unjust ; but they 
could grant no costs. 

* * * 

The King offered him the Bishoprick of Exeter, vacant by the trans 
lation of Dr. Blackburn to the See of York, to re-imburse him ; but he 
could not be prevailed on to quit his own Diocese. His Majesty therefore 
promised to defray his expences out of the privy purse, and gave it in 
charge to Lord Townsend, Lord Carleton, and Sir Robert Walpole, to 
put it into his remembrance ; but the King going soon afterwards to Han 
over, and dying before his return, this promise was never fulfilled. 4 

1 Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. William Whiston, sec. ed. London, 
Whiston and White, 1753, part i. p. 284. 

2 A narrative of the Case of the Reverend Mr. Jackson being refused the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper at Bath by Dr. Coney Minister of Bath, London, Noon, 1736. 

s 3 gee D.N.B. under John Jackson. 

4 Thomas Wilson, Works, ed. C. Crattwell, sec. ed. London, Dilly, vol. i. pp. 29- 


Swift gives us an instance of what they could do in Ireland in 
the way of discipline. 

I am just going to perform a very good office ; it is to assist with the 
archbishop in degrading a parson who couples all our beggars ... I 
am come back, and have deprived the parson, who by a law here is to be 
hanged the next couple he marries : he declares to us that he is resolved to 
be hanged, only desired that when he was to go to the gallows, the arch 
bishop would take off his excommunication. Is not he a good catholic ? 
and yet he is but a Scotchman. 1 

The study of the records of the Archdeacons' Courts reveals to 
us that they were most occupied in the punishment of two kinds of 
offences, slander and porneia, which the politicians in the opinion 
of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu considered acts more to be en 
couraged than frowned upon. 2 Chamberlayne gives this account 
of the penance. 

This power of Excommunication the Bishop may delegate to any grave 
Priest with the Chancellor. 

Besides the general Censure of the Church which respects Church-Com 
munion, there is another which toucheth the Body of the Delinquent, 
called Public Penance, when any one is compelled to confess in publick his 
Fault, and to bewail it before the whole Congregation in the Church, which 
is done in this manner : The Delinquent is to stand in the Church-Porch 
upon some Sunday, barehead and barefeet, in a white Sheet, and a 
white rod in his Hand, there bewailing himself, and begging every one that 
passes by to pray for him ; then to enter the Church, falling down and 
kissing the Ground ; then in the middle of the Church is he or she emi 
nently placed in the sight of all the People and over against the Minister, 
who declares the Foulness of his Crime, odious to God, and scandalous 
to the Congregation ; that God can no way be satisfied but by applying 
Christ's Sufferings ; nor the Congregation, but by an humble acknowledging 
of his Sins, and testifying his sincere Repentance and Sorrow, not in Words 
only, but with Tears, and promising there, in the sight of God and his holy 
Angels, that by God's Assistance, and by Prayer, Meditation, and daily Works 
of Piety, he will endeavour hereafter more carefully to watch against the 
Temptations of the World, the Allurements of the Flesh, and the Snares of 
the Devil : which being done, and the Priest in Christ's Name, pronouncing 
the Remission of Sins, the Penitent humbly beseeches the Congregation 
to pardon him in that great Scandal against them, and receive him into 
their holy Communion, and account him again a Member of their Church ; 
and in testimony thereof, out of their Christian Charity, to vouchsafe to say 
with him aloud the Lord's Prayer. And this way of the Church of England, 

1 Letter of Jonathan Swift, dated Dublin, Nov. 17, 1726. (Works, edited by Walter 
Scott, Edinburgh, 1814, vol. xvii. p. 117.) 

2 See above, Introductory Chapter, p. 2. 


appears by divers Writers to be the ancient way used by the Primitive 
Churches. 1 

This open penance was witnessed by Mr. Pepys on July 16, 1665 : 

so by coaches to church four miles off; where a pretty good sermon, and 
a declaration of penitence of a man that had undergone the Churche's cen 
sure for his wicked life. 

Mr. Pepys himself ought, if justice had been consulted, to have 
done penance of this kind often enough. 

In the following case it will be seen how disturbed the congrega 
tion was by the entrance of an excommunicate person into the 

Scotter, co. Lincoln. 1667-8, Jan. 19. Mem. That on Septuagesima 
Sunday, one Francis Drury, an excommunicate person, came into the 
church in time of divine service in the morning, and being admonisht by 
me to begon[e], hee obstinately refused, whereupon the whole congrega 
tion departed, and after the same manner in the afternoon the same day he 
came againe, and refusing againe to goe out, the whole congregation againe 
went home, soe that little or noe service [was] performed that day. I pre 
vented his farther coming in that manner as he threatened, by order from 
the justice, upon the statute of Q. Eliz. concerning the molestation and 
disturbance of public preachers. 

Wm. Carrington, Rector? 

The crime for which Francis Drury was excommunicated does 
not appear. It should be noted, however, that the congregation 
was against him. Nowadays public opinion would certainly sym 
pathise with the criminal. 

Penance had to be done for drunkenness. This is the confession 
of a Verger at Durham. 

Whereas by the sin of drunkennesse I have done dishonour to God 
and given offence to my superiours of this Cathedral, and scandal to all other 
good Christian people : I doe here humbly confesse, and am heartily sorry 
for the same ; and doe earnestly beg God's and the Church's pardon ; and 
doe promise that (by God's grace) I will never offend in like manner for the 
future. 3 

More than a century later the sin of drunkenness is punished in 
a parish clerk. In January 1 799 the Dean of Middleham cited the 
parish clerk into his court and pronounced the following "sentence : 

1 John Chamberlayne, Magnae Britanniae Notitia, London, 1708, 22nd edition, p. 
2 55- A god part of this appears in the thirty-eighth edition, 1755, part i. p. 194. 

2 R. E. C. Waters, Parish Registers in England, London, Roberts, 1883, p. 77. 

3 June 16, 1686. Roger Blakiston's Penance in The remains of Denis Granville, 
Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 135. 


That Thomas Ibbotson should be suspended from the office of parish 
clerk, without forfeiting the wages, until after the loth day of February 
then next, being the first Sunday in Lent ; that he do not approach the 
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper on that day, that, by the prayers of Lent, 
he might be fitted for it at the festival of Easter ; and, lastly, that, on the 
first Sunday of the ensuing Lent, he should stand during service until 
the Nicene creed was read, before the font under the gallery, and there 
depart to a private seat, after having read distinctly the following acknow 
ledgement, viz. 

" I, Thomas Ibbotson, do acknowledge that, on the day of the Feast 
of Circumcision, I behaved very irreverently in the House of God : that 
I interrupted the divine service, and conducted myself in such a manner, 
both in the church and out of it, as to give just cause of offence to the 
congregation then present : that I was led to this misconduct by resent 
ment, and not being perfectly sober at the time, for which I beg pardon of 
Almighty God, and do promise to order myself with greater sobriety and 
decency for the time to come." 1 

The next few cases deal with penance done for breaches of the 
seventh commandment. 

On Sunday last a Woman did Penance in the Parish Church of St. 
Bride's, by standing in a white Sheet, with a Wand in her Hand, on a 
Stool in the middle Isle during the time of Divine Service, for Adultery and 
Fornication, and having a Bastard Child in the Absence of her Husband. 2 

This is an instance of the manner in which public penance was 
performed. In the appendix to this chapter will be found the 
schedule of a like punishment carried out in the same year. 

Stephen Hales, the famous physiologist and chaplain to the 
prince afterwards King George the Third, died in 1761. He is 
said to have been the last of the clergy who made his female 
parishioners do penance. 3 

But this can hardly be. Penance was done at Pittington and 
Melsonby in I77O. 4 And the poet Wordsworth has left on record 
that he saw a woman doing penance in the church in a white 
sheet some time before the death of his mother in I778. 5 At 
Hurstmonceaux public penance is said to have taken place for the 
last time about i8oo. 6 

1 Documents relating to the Foundation and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church 
of Middleham, ed. William Atthill, Camden Society, 1847, p. 42. 

2 Fog's Weekly Journal, No. 267, Saturday, Dec. 15, 1733. 

3 Albert Hartshorne, Memoirs of a Roy at Chaplain, 1905, p. 314. 

4 Memorials of St. Giles's, Durham, Surtees Society, 1896, vol. xcv. p. 160 note. 

5 Memoirs of William Wordsworth, ed. by Christopher Wordsworth, afterwards 
Bishop of Lincoln ; Moxon, 1851, vol. i. p. 8. 

6 Augustus J. C. Hare, Memorials of a quiet life, Strahan, 1872, vol. i. p. 143. 



In the appendix to this chapter is a schedule of penance for 
slander, performed as late as 1 801 , thus only twelve years before 1813. 

The Courts in the early part of our period seem to have been 
active in punishing those who married without a licence in times 
forbidden. John Ayliffe, who most likely represents the general 
practice of the Courts before 1725, is against marriage in Lent 
without licence, but not in Advent. This agrees with the mediaeval 
custom in England, where Advent was not a time of fasting : 

for tho' the Banns of Matrimony are seldom or never published in Lent, &c. 
according to that Law ; yet People may marry at that Time with Licences. 
But as for the time of Advent which was never observ'd in our Church 
as a Fast, there is no Foundation for such a Prohibition with us. 1 

Yet notwithstanding Ayliffe's opinion, it would seem that licences 
were demanded for marriages celebrated in the times prohibited by 
the old canon law ; that is, from the first Sunday in Advent to the 
Octave of the Epiphany, inclusive ; from Septuagesima to the Octave 
of Easter, inclusive ; from the first day of the Rogations till the 
seven days of Whitsuntide be passed. 2 

Thus a licence is required for marrying in Whitsun week. 

Twickenham. 1665. Christopher Mitchell and Ann Colcot, married, 4 
June, by permission of Sir Richard Chaworth, it being within the octaves 
of Pentecost. 3 

Mr. Pepys on March 21, 1669 notes a licence to our young 
people to be married this Lent. 

A little later and a couple were excommunicated for marrying 
in a time forbidden. 


April 1 6. I publishd an Excommunication sent out of the Arch- 
Deacon's Court at Nottingham and bearing date Feb. 29, 
1675 against William Smith and Eliz. his wife for being 
marryed in a time prohibited and refusing to appear, after 
due summons, to give account of the Same. 
* # * 

April 23rd. I published the Absolution of William Smith and his wife, 
which was sent out of the Court at Retford the 21 instant. 4 

1 John Ayliffe, Parergon, London, 1726. Of Marriage, p. 365. 

2 Lyndwood, Provinciate, Lib. iii. tit. 16, de decimis, ad verba Nubentium solemniis, 
Oxford, 1679, p. 185. 

3 Quoted in R. E. C. Waters, Parish Registers in England, London, Roberts, 
1883, p. 33. 

4 Harry Gill and Everard L. Guilford, The Rector's Book, Clay worth, Notts, Nott 
ingham, Saxton, 1910, pp. 18, 19. 


Notices of the times in which Marriage is forbidden continued to 
appear in the yearly Almanacks. In Pond's Almanack for the year 
of our Lord God 1690, published at Cambridge by John Hayes, the 
times at which marriage is not to be solemnised are given as in 

The Ladies Diary for 1752 preserves a notice of the same times, 
during which matrimony may not be solemnised. Septuagesima 
is marked with Marriage goes out in black letter, very striking to 
the eye. Low Sunday is marked with Marriage comes in, in the 
same type. The Saturday before Rogation Sunday is marked 
with Marriage goes out ; and Marriage comes in is against Trinity 
Sunday. Advent Sunday is marked: Marriage goes out till I3th 

In a collection of sermons for family reading, which had passed 
through four editions, there is a note preceding the sermons for 
Advent, in which the editor says : 

This is also one of the seasons, from the beginning of which to the end 
of the octave of the Epiphany, the solemnizing of marriages is forbidden, 
without special licence. 

and again at Septuagesima there is 

From Septuagesima Sunday until the Octaves after Easter, the solemn 
izing of marriage is forbidden by the Canon Law. 1 

The draught of new Canons in 1714 for regulating marriage for 
bids marriages on Ash Wednesday, Passion Week and the 3Oth of 
January, only, either with licence, or after banns. 2 

<s* A considerable power in discipline was left in the hands of the 
parish priest in 1662, that of repulsion from communion, as well as 
insistence upon the names of intending communicants being given to 
him u at least some time the day before". It is a pity that the 
layman so rarely observes this rubric. The man who does not 
send notice to the parish priest is as lawless as any of our high 
placed divines. 

A very curious and edifying instance of voluntary penance is re 
corded of Dr. Johnson : 

Fifty years ago, Madam, on this day, I committed a breach of filial piety, 
which has ever since lain heavy on my mind, and has not till this day been 

1 Samuel Clapham, Sermons, selected and abridged, London, Rivington, 4th ed. 
1813, vol. i. pp. 2 and 314. First edition 1803. 

2 See D. Wilkins, Concilia, 1737, vol. iv. p. 660. 


expiated. My father, you recollect, was a bookseller, and had long been in 
the habit of attending Uttoxeter market, and opening a stall for the sale of his 
books during that day. Confined to his bed by indisposition, he requested 
me, this time fifty years ago, to visit the market, and attend the stall in his 
place. But, Madam, my pride prevented me from doing my duty, and I gave 
my father a refusal. To do away the sin of this disobedience, I this day went 
in a postchaise to Uttoxeter, and going into the market at the time of high 
business, uncovered my head, and stood with it bare an hour before the 
stall which my father had formerly used, exposed to the sneers of the 
standers-by and the inclemency of the weather ; a penance by which I trust 
I have propitiated heaven for this only instance, I believe, of contumacy 
toward my father. 1 

The fact of the penance having been performed may be assumed, 
but the language is unlike that of Johnson. 

A curious form of discipline seems to have been exercised at the 
end of the eighteenth century by the Dean of Middleham in York 
shire. He made the following entry in his register of burials : 

Burials, October 29th. 1792. 
I enter under the head of burials as spiritually dead the names of 

Clerk to Mr John Breare, Attorney-at-Law, of this place ; and 


Clerk to Mr Luke Yarker, Attorney-at-Law, of this place ; first for 
irreverent behaviour in church a second time, after public reproof on a 
former occasion of the same sort ; and, secondly, when mildly admonished 
by me not to repeat the same, they both made use of the most scandalous 
and insolent words concerning myself, for which I thought proper to pass 
a public censure upon them after sermon (though they were wilfully absent) 
in the face of the congregation ; and enter the mention of the same in this 
book, that the names of those insolent young men may go to posterity as 
void of all reverence to God and his ministers. Witness my hand, 

Witness, ROGR. DAWSON, Regr. 2 

In the diocese of Salisbury, so recently as 1900, a churchwarden, 
after having accepted office, desired not to be admitted. At the 
Bishop's Visitation, held in Dorchester, the proceedings are reported 
in a local newspaper as follows. 

Mr. Cornish Browne intimated that he did not wish to be admitted. 
The Bishop, after consulting the legal authorities, said he did not think 
he could refuse, after having accepted office. He might be excommunicated 

1 Minor Anecdotes by the Rev. Richard Warner, in Johnsonian Miscellanies, ed. by 
G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1897, vol. ii. p. 427. 

2 Documents relating to the Foundation and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of 
Middleham, ed. William Atthill, Camden Society, 1847, p. 42. 


according to ecclesiastical law. Of course no such penalty could be thought 
of, but he would point out that he might be compelled, if the parish chose 
to take action against him. He considered it would be wise for him to take 
the office. 

Mr. Cornish Browne, after consultation with the Rector : I will be ad 
mitted. 1 


In dealing with this matter it may be considered under three 
heads : 

i. As exhibited in the practice of individuals. 

ii. As recommended in current books of devotion. 

iii. As treated by divines and other authors of good repute. 


That the practice of private confession and spiritual direction 
was widely spread in the Church of England immediately after the 
Restoration there is good evidence to show. Even in the days 
before the Restoration when, as Dr. Johnson could say, that 

a wild democracy had overturned King, Lords, and Commons; and 
that a set of Republican Fanatics, who would not bow at the name of 
JESUS had taken possession of all the livings and all the parishes in the 
kingdom, 2 

and when only one church in London was left to churchmen, John 
Evelyn went to London to visit Dr. Jeremy Taylor, " using him 
thenceforward as my ghostly father". 3 And after the death of 
his daughter Mary, some years later, there were found letters to 
her ghostly father asking him not to despise her for her many errors, 4 
though from her character she must have needed such excuses but 

Another gracious character of that age was Mrs. Godolphin, 
and we are told that she designed to live by herself at Hereford, 
so as to be under the direction of the Dean of that church, who 
had long been her spiritual father. 5 I doubt if" the more minute 

1 Dorset County Chronicle, No. 4167, June 28, 1900. 

2 Arthur Murphy, An essay on the Life and Genius of Samuel Johnson, London, 
1792, p. 108. 

3 Diary of John Evelyn, 1655, March 31, ed. Bray and Wheatley, Bickers, 1879, 
vol. ii. p. 76. He writes to Dr. Taylor " as to my confessor " on Ap. 27, 1656 (iii. 

4 ibid. March 16, 1684-85, p. 459. 

5 The Life of Mrs. Godolphin, by John Evelyn, London, Sampson Low, 1888, p. 
67. She died in 1678. 


Confessions " for which she kept " an account of her actions and 
resolutions " x were for private confession, but they may have been. 
She counts it among the special mercies that she had the " assistance 
of a spirittuall Guide" 2 which she owed to the extraordinary care 
of a pious and excellent Mother. 3 

There is the following account of the deathbed of Dr. Robert 
Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln after the Restoration : 

After his taking his bed, and about a day before his death, he desired 
his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin, to give him absolution : and at his performing 
that office, he pulled off his cap, that Mr. Pullin might lay his hand upon 
his bare head. 4 

Clarendon's daughter, who married the Duke of York, is said 
by Gilbert Burnet to have practised " secret confession " before she 
was reconciled to the Church of Rome. Her confessor was Morley, 
Bishop of Winchester, to whom succeeded Blandford, who died 
Bishop of Worcester. 5 But for all this we depend only upon 
Burnet's evidence, which is always more or less untrustworthy. 

Bishop Patrick, when at Covent Garden, made some effort to 
hinder the Duke of York from becoming a papist. 

For I had some time before been with him, and restored him some 
money of which a servant of his thought she had wronged him. This 
pleased him mightily, and he expressed great satisfaction to hear that 
people came and confessed their sins to us, of which we could not absolve 
them, unless in case of wrong they made satisfaction. 6 

On his return from France in 1679, the Dean of Durham, as 
he was soon to be, made a general confession to Dr. Gunning, the 
Bishop of Ely. Thus he speaks of it : 

Mem : That I prepare a draught of my whole life by way of confession 
in order to demand an absolution (in the name of God) from the Rt. 
reverend Bp. Gunning, my first spiritual father. 

Mem : that I did, the evening before this celebration, unburthen my 
conscience to this good Bishop (my spirituall guide) and submitted my 

1 The Life of Mrs. Godolphin, by John Evelyn, London, Sampson Low, 1888, p. 188. 

2 ibid. p. 216. See also pp. 46, 160. *ibid. p. 221. 

4 Isaak Walton, Lives of Dr. John Donne, etc. Oxford Clarendon Press, 1805, vol. 
ii. p. 258. 

5 Bishop Burnet's History of his own time, sec. ed. Oxford, 1833, vol. i. pp. 307 
and 566. 

6 The autobiography of Symon Patrick, Bishop of Ely, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1839, 
p. 78. 


soule to his test and examination, receiving after the same a solemne 
absolution on my knees. 1 

In 1682, Ken preaching on the death of Lady Maynard reveals 
her practice of confession to him : 

As to myself, I have had the honour to know her near twenty years ; 
and to be admitted to her most intimate thoughts, and I cannot but think, 
upon the utmost of my observation, that she always preserved her baptis 
mal innocence, that she never committed any one mortal sin, which put 
her out of the state of grace ; insomuch, that after all the frequent and 
severe examinations, she made of her own conscience, her confessions were 
made up of no other than sins of infirmity, and yet even for them, she had 
as deep an humiliation, and as penitential a sorrow, as high a sense of the 
divine forgiveness, and loved as much, as if she had much to be forgiven : 
so that after a life of above forty years, nine of which were spent in the 
court, bating her involuntary failings, which are unavoidable, and for 
which allowances are made, in the covenant of grace, she "kept herself 
unspotted from the world," and if it may be affirmed of any, I dare ven 
ture to affirm it of this gracious woman, that by the peculiar favour of 
heaven, she past from the font unsullied to her grave. 2 

Ken did not take the oaths after the Revolution, and writing 
to Tenison the Archbishop of Canterbury, as attending Queen 
Mary on her .deathbed, reproaches him with having drawn from 
her no confession of the Wrong she had done her own father, James 
the Second. He opens his letter thus : 

Sir when I heard of the Sickness of the Late Illustrious Princess, whom 
I had never fail'd to recommend to God, in my Daily Prayers, and that 
your self was Her Confessor, I could not but hope that at least on Her 
Death-bed, you would have dealt faithfully with Her. 3 

A few pages farther on ; 

A Conscientious Faithful Confessor, especially on the Death-bed is 
One of a Thousand, who will always be desired and valu'd, and rever'd. 4 

Tenison took no notice of the attack, " his relations with the 
Queen being under the seal of confession ". 5 Ken's recommendation 
of confession to the Winchester scholar as a preparation for com 
munion will be seen below. 

Dr. John Sharp, afterwards Archbishop of York, was " Confessor 
and Spiritual Guide " to Lord Chancellor Finch, the first Earl of 

1 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. pp. 40, 41. 

2 Thomas Ken, Sermon preached at the funeral of the Right Hon. The Lady 
Margaret Mainard, at Little Easton, in Essex, June 30, 1682, in The Prose Works . . . 
of . . . Thomas Ken, ed. by J. T. Round, London, Rivington, 1838, p. 129. 

S A Dutiful Letter from a Prelate to a Prelate, London, 1703. 
*ibid. p. ii. 5 D.N.B. sub voce Tenison. 


Nottingham. 1 Later on, when Archbishop of York, he was 
director to Queen Anne. 2 

A chaplain to the Queen's Forces in the Province of New York, 
by name John Sharp, describes in his funeral sermon the deathbed 
of Lady Cornbury : 

She received the Sacrament and Absolution of the Church and desired 
our prayers might be continued for her in the language of our holy Mother. 3 

This incident is mentioned, as it shows that Church practices did 
not cease in far distant colonies in Queen Anne's time. 

The Spectator prints a letter as it were from a penitent to his 
confessor, and it begins : 

I know not with what Words to express to you the Sense I have of the 
high Obligation you have laid upon me, in the Penance you enjoin'd me of 
doing some Good or other to a Person of Worth every Day I live. 4 

In a letter from T. Allen dated Sept. I, 1711, the character of a 
young man is spoken of; and it is said : 

he had his principles from Dr. Alston who is still his spiritual Guide. 5 

Clayton, the Chaplain of the Collegiate Church at Manchester, 
writes to Wesley from Manchester in 1733 : 

Poor Miss Potter ! I wonder not that she is fallen. Where humility 
is not the foundation, the superstructure cannot be good. And, yet, I am 
sorry to hear the tidings of her, especially that she has a great man for her 
confessor, who dissuades her from constant communion. 6 

It might be thought that a confessor would be a better judge 
than anyone else of the frequency with which the penitent might 
approach the Holy Table. 

Fielding more than once bears witness to the practice of con 
fession, penance, and absolution in the Church of England of his day. 
Parson Thwackum in Tom Jones says: 

Who but an atheist could think of leaving the world without having first 
made up his account ? without confessing his sins, and receiving that absolu 
tion which he knew he had one in the house duly authorised to give him? 

1 [John Hildrop,] The Contempt of the Clergy Considered, London, 1739, p. 65. 

2 The Life of John Sharp, D.D. Lord Archbishop of York, London, Rivington, 
1825, vol. i. p. 301. 

3 John Sharp, A sermon preached . . . in New York in America, New York, Brad 
ford, 1706, p. 19. Was he the author of the Charter of the kingdom of Christ, 
London, Morphew, 1717, and De rebus liturgicis, Thesis at Aberdeen, 1714 ? 

4 Spectator, No. 27, Saturday, March 21, 1711. 

8 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1889, vol. 
iii. p. 219, note. 

6 L. Tyerman, The Oxford Methodists, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1873, p. 36. 


In Joseph Andrews there is depicted a somewhat unclerical parson 
who yet requires a full confession from Joseph of all his sins, when 
he finds him lying on a sick bed. And in Amelia Dr. Harrison says : 

1 this young gentleman will absolve me without obliging me to penance.' 
' I have not yet that power,' answered the young clergyman ; ' for I am 
only in deacon's orders.' * 

It may be remembered that Fielding was a Whig and a Low 
Churchman. He speaks highly of Hoadly's Plain Account. 

Smollett was a Scotch presbyterian ; yet in Roderick Random 
he makes the chaplain on board a ship in the King's service, exhort 
the patient, supposed to be in danger of death, as follows : 

It is incumbent on you, therefore, to prepare for the great change, by- 
repenting sincerely of your sins ; of this there cannot be a greater sign, than 
an ingenuous confession, which I conjure you to make without hesitation or 
mental reservation. 2 

When the patient declares himself to be a presbyterian the chap 
lain leaves him, hoping that he may not be in state of reprobation. 

The same novelist, describing the deathbed of an old sea officer, 
makes him say : 

1 trust by the mercy of God, I shall be sure in port in a very few glasses, 
and fast moored in a most blessed riding : for my good friend Jolter hath 
overhauled the journal of my sins ; and by the observation he hath taken 
of the state of my soul, I hope I shall happily conclude my voyage. 3 

Jolter is the name of a priest who was governor to the nephew. 
Glass is a sand or hour glass usually taking half an hour to run out. 
Later on in the same novel he speaks of 

the curate (who still maintained his place of chaplain and ghostly director 
in the family). 4 


In Bishop Cosin's Collection of Private Devotions, which reached 
a ninth edition in 1693, there is a form for confession of sin before 
Communion, prayers before and after Absolution. Under the Pre 
cepts of the Church he has : 

l Tom Jones, Book V. ch. viii. Joseph Andrews, Book I. ch. xiii. Amelia, Book 
IX. ch. viii. in Works of Henry Fielding, ed. Murphy and Browne, vol. vi. p. 263 : 
vol. v. p. 70 : vol. ix. p. 167. 

2 Tobias Smollett, The adventures of Roderick Random, ch. xxxiv. London, 
Hutchinson, 1904, p. 233. 

3 Tobias Smollett, Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, ch. Ixxiii. 1904, Hutchinson, vol. 
ii. p. 8. 

*ibid. ch. civ. vol. ii. p. 437. 


5. To receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ 
with frequent devotion, and three times a Year at least, of which times 
Easter to be always one. And for better preparation thereunto, as oc 
casion is, to disburthen and quiet our consciences of those sins that may 
grieve us, or scruples that may trouble us, to a learned and discreet Priest, 
and from him to receive advice, and the benefit of Absolution}* 

In Dr. Wetenhall's directions for the sick, he recommends him 
to consult with 

some spiritual Guide, to whom if I have nothing to unburden myself of, 
yet I apply myself to, to receive absolution? 

after which, a little later on he adds : 

it is fit (all meet circumstances admitting it) I proceed to partake of the 
Lords Supper, before which according to the order of the Church, I receive 
absolution. 3 

Dr. Thomas Ken advises the Winchester scholar thus : 

In case Philfotheus] you do find this Examination too difficult for 
you, or are afraid you shall not rightly perform it, or meet with any scruples, 
or troubles of Conscience, in the practice of it, I then advise you, as the 
Church does, to go to one of your Superiours in this place, to be your 
Spiritual Guide, and be not ashamed to Unburthen your Soul freely to 
Him, that besides His Ghostly Counsel, you may receive the benefit of 
Absolution. 4 

In a book called A Daily Office for the Sick^ attributed to 
Zachaeus Isham, chaplain to Dr. Henry Compton, Bishop of Lon 
don, and dedicated to him, there occurs among the subjects for 
self-examination the following questions : 

6. Is there any special sin that lies heavy upon thee ? 

7. Have I confess'd it to a Minister and humbly requested Absolution ? 5 

A prayer after self-examination then follows with the form of 
absolution as in the Visitation of the Sick, with commendations of 
this form by Bishop Andrewes, Dr. Hammond, and others. This 
advice appears a little before : 

If the Sick Person feels his Conscience troubled with any weighty 
matter ; he is exhorted by the Church, to make a special Confession of his 
Sins to the Minister, that visits him : and then having testify 'd his hearty 

1 John Cosin, A Collection of Private Devotions, eighth ed. London, Royston, 
1681. Sign. D. 

2 [Edward Wetenhall,] Enter into thy Closet, 4th ed. London, Martyn, 1672. Per 
suasives, ch. 10, p. 444. The first edition is said to have been in 1666. 

*ibid. p. 445. 

4 Thomas Ken, A Manual of Prayers For the Use of the Scholars of Winchester 
Colledge, London, John Martyn, 1675, p. 27. 

6 A Daily Office for the Sick, London, Roycroft and Clavell, 1694, P- 2 32. 


Repentance, he is to desire Absolution ; and to receive it in the Form of 
the Church, with all possible humility, and thankfulness. 


Tis fit also for him to observe; that though our Church presseth 
particular Confession to a Priest, only when the Conscience is disquieted 
with sins of deeper malignity, yet it doth not discountenance the more 
frequent use of it ; and this too is so comprehensive a Case, as to take in 
great numbers that neglect it. 1 

In hearing confessions himself, Dr. Granville made use of the 
following form : 

Begin first with the Lord's prayer, saying together 

Our Father which art &c. 

Vers. O Lord open thou our lipps. 

Answer. And our mouth shall shew forth thy [praise]. 

Vers. O God make speed to save us. 

Ans. O Lord make hast to helpe us. 

Glory bee to the Father etc. 
As it was in the beginning &c. 

then Recite together psalme 139. Domine probasti. O Lord thou 
hast searched mee out and knowne mee &c. 

After this is said the Preist takes his place in his chaire, and requires 
the Penitent to Kneell downe before him, and to answer sincerely in the 
Name and Feare [of] God to such Questions as hee shall by Christ's author 
ity demand of him. 

It is expedient and thought good for the Ease and Incouragement of 
the Penitent to have some forme of examination and answers given to him 
some Convenient time before, to Consider of for the greater proffit of his 
soule, and better preparation for soe solemne a [thing erased] Duty. 

Then let the penitent Repeat one of the Formes of Confessions after 
the Priest, with due deliberation and Intention. After which the Preist 
rising up shall 2 add. O Lord I beseech thee &c. 2 3 and then 3 solemnely 
pronounce that excellent forme of Absolution, Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Then let the priest pronounce such sentences of Scripture as hee con 
ceives most to edification. Reciting afterwards 4 on their knees together 
ps. 32 Blessed [etc.]. Concluding with these following prayers : 

Let us pray 

5 i. O Lord I beseech thee favourably to receive our prayers &c. 5 

1. O most mercifull God whoe according to the multitude of thy mercies 
[&c.] with some few alterations 

O most Mighty God and mercifull Father &c. 

2. Lord, wee beseech thee give us Grace to withstand &c. 

3. O Lord whoe knowest that all our doings are nothing worth &c. 

4. Lord wee pray thee that thy Grace &c. 

1 Directions for the sick, v. pp. 193, 194. 

z ~* interlined. *- s over pronounce. 4 interlined. 5 " 5 struck out. 


5. Allmighty God the Fountaine of all Wisdome &c. 

Benediction l 


Thorndike has devoted a chapter to the consideration of pri 
vate confession and penance, and maintains that the abuse of these 
in the Church of Rome has not destroyed their use, and he is desir 
ous of seeing private confession made once a year ; still more so 
because the Church of England has failed of that great piece of 
reformation, the retrieving of public penance, though it every year 
wishes for its restoration in the beginning of the Commination 
Service. 2 

Hamon L'estrange, a learned layman, of good repute, comment 
ing on the office for the Visitation of the Sick, in a work published 
just before the Restoration, says : 

Confession and Absolution.] Here the Church approveth of, though 
she doth not command, Auricular Confession. Many times poor soules 
lye labouring under the pangs of an horrid reflex upon the number or 
greatness of their sins, and the dreadful wrath of God deservedly expected 
for them. In this case, no remedy comparable to an humble and sincere 
confession at large. 3 

Bishop Pearson, in his letter on Promiscuous Ordinations, dis 
suading against accepting irregular ministrations, points out that 
the absolution of one whose commission is not acknowledged can 
not be expected to be of any efficacy upon the bed of sickness or 
on the approach of death. 4 

Dr. Comber, the Dean of Durham, speaks thus of confession to 
the priest : 

And this was so received a Doctrine in the Primitive times, that the 
Confession of sins to a Priest, in case of a troubled Conscience, was 
esteemed an Apostolical institution, and was a general practice, as might 
be proved by innumerable testimonies of Antiquity ... we wish therefore 
that our People, even in time of health (when their Conscience is troubled 
for some great sin, or their souls are assaulted with a violent Temptation) 

1 Bodleian Library, MS. Rawl. D. 851. if. 222-223. See also Remains of Denis 
Granville, op. cit. p. 148. 

2 Herbert Thorndike, Of the Laws of the Church, Book III. ch. xi. 20, 21, in 
Works, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1852, Vol. IV. part i. pp. 258, 259. 

3 Hamon L'estrange, The Alliance of Divine Offices, ch. 10, London, Broom, 
1659, P- 298. 

4 The minor Theological Works of John Pearson, ed. Edw. Churton, Oxford, 1844, 
vol. ii. p. 237. 


would come and make their case known to their spiritual Physician, to 
whom the Fathers elegantly compare the Priest in this case. 1 

Isaac Barrow, dealing with the Power of the Keys, speaks thus : 

Now they (the pastors of the Church) may be understood to remit, or 
retain sins divers ways. 

1. They remit sins dispositive, 

2. They remit (or retain sins) declarative. . . . 

3. They remit sins imperative,. . . . 

4. They remit sins dispensativk, by consigning pardon in the administra 
tion of the Sacrament ; especially in conferring Baptism, whereby duly ad 
ministered and undertaken, all sins are washed away ; and in the absolving 
of penitents, wherein grace is exhibited and ratified by imposition of hands : 
the which St. Paul calls x^P^^ to bestow grace, or favour on the 
penitent. 2 

Wake in controversy with Bossuet writes thus : 

The Church of England refuses no sort of Confession either publick or 
private, which may be any way necessary to the quieting of men's con 
sciences ; or to the exercising of that Power of binding and loosing, which 
our Saviour Christ has left to his Church. 

We have our Penitential Canons for publick Offenders : We exhort 
men if they have any the least doubt or scruple, nay sometimes tho they 
have none, but especially before they receive the Holy Sacrament, to con 
fess their sins. We propose to them the benefit not only of Ghostly 
Advice how to manage their Repentance, but the great comfort of Absolu 
tion too, as soon as they shall have compleated it. 

* * * 

When we visit our Sick, we never fail to exhort them to make a 
special Confession of their sins to him that Ministers to them : And when 
they have done it, the Absolution is so full, that the Church of Rome its 
self could not desire to add anything to it. 3 

Here is Beveridge's opinion : 

But our Saviour's kingdom being, as himself saith, not of this world, 
but purely spiritual, he \ that hath authorized his substitutes in the govern 
ment of it, to use rewards and punishments of the same nature ; even to 
admonish delinquents in his name to forsake their sins, and if they continue 
obstinate, and neglect such admonitions, to excommunicate or cast them 
out of his church ; and, upon their repentance, to absolve and receive them 
in again. This power our Saviour first promised to St. Peter, and in him 

1 Thomas Comber, A Companion to the Temple, London, 1684, Offices of Matri 
mony, Visitation of the Sick, etc. part iv. p. 124. 

2 The Theological Works of Isaac Barrow, ed. Alex. Napier, Cambridge, 1859, vol. 
vii. p. 365, note : concerning the power of the Keys in An exposition of the Creed. 
The editor encloses this note in square brackets. 

3 William Wake, An Exposition of the Doctrine of the Church of England, 
London, Chiswell, 1686, p. 42. On Penance and Confession, 


to the rest of the apostles, Matth. xvi. 19. But it was not actually con- 
ferr'd upon them till after his resurrection, when having breathed, he said 
unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost : whosesoever sins ye remit, they are 
remitted unto them ; and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained, John 
xx. 23. As if he should have said, I, the Son of man, having power upon 
earth also to forgive sins, do now commit the same to you ; so that whose 
sins soever are remitted or retained by you, are so by me also. 1 

In the time of William the Third, Freind and Parkins were 
hanged for being in a conspiracy to murder the king ; at the gallows 
Jeremy Collier publicly absolved them without any previous con 
fession, so that " he knew not the state of their souls ". The Arch 
bishops and Bishops protest at this scandal, asking 

how could they, without manifest Transgression of the Churches Order, 
as well as the prophane abuse of the Power Christ hath left with his 
Ministers, absolve them from all their Sins ? 2 

Dr. John Stearne, or Sterne, afterwards Bishop of Dromore, 
when dealing with the necessity in the sick of the confession of sins 
and of real penitence for them, gives this rule: 

24 Reg. Poenitentibus pronuntianda est absolutio Ea exponenda et 

24. Illis de quorum poenitentia, quin vera fuerit, non jure dubitatur 
pronuntianda est absolutio, si obnixe earn petierint, eaque, ne perperam 
intelligatur ut plurimum exponi debet, et proponi possit tanquam absoluta 
respectu eorum delictorum, quae ecclesiae scandalum pepererunt, et 
respectu aliorum omnium peccatorum tanquam authoritativa, Deique 
gratia efficax futura illis, qui veram egerint poenitentiam. 3 

Wheatly's commentary on the Prayer Book was thought so 
exactly to express the mind of the Church of England that in the 
eighteenth century it was put by many bishops into the hands of 
the Ordinands : in speaking of the abolition by Nectarius of the 
office of Penitentiary he says : 

Not but that they were at liberty, after the abolishing of this office, as 
much as they were before, to use the advice of a ghostly counsellor, if 
they found themselves in want of it, but then there was no peculiar Officer, 
whose distinct business it should be to receive such applications : but 
every one was left to choose a Confessor for himself, in whom he might 

safely confide. 

* * * 

Christ's Presence with his Ministers, Sermon i. in The works . . . of Dr. William 
Beveridge, London, sec. ed. Bettesworth and Innys, 1729, vol. i. p. 7. 

Z A Declaration of the Sense of the Archbishops and Bishops now in and about 
London, London, Everingham, 1696, p. 10. 

3 Johannes Stearne, Tractatus de visitatione Infirmorum, Londini, Baldwin, 1700. 
Regulae ad Secundam Classem spectantes, p. 48. 


But present ease is not the only benefit the penitent may expect from 
his confessor's aid : he will be better assisted in the regulation of his life ; 
and when his last conflict shall make its approach, the holy man, being 
no stranger to the state of his soul, will be better prepared to guide and 
conduct it through all difficulties that may oppose. 1 

In a Catechism of some fifty pages, French and English being 
printed opposite one another, and designed to set forth the chief 
differences between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, 
we read on the subject of confession the following declaration as 
giving the position of the Church of England : 

We are not against Confessing to a Minister, in the Church of England ; 
Nay, our Church presses it, both publick and private, to God chiefly, and 
to a pious and able Divine, if the Conscience be burthened, and particu 
larly upon a sick or death Bed, and before receiving the Sacrament. 2 

Fiddes treating of the article of the creed, " the forgiveness of 
sins " and the power committed to the church to remit sins, says 

confession is, under certain circumstances, a duty; as the priest is our 
proper spiritual guide . . . whether a particular confession of their sins be 
in any case, necessary, in order to qualify sinners for the sacerdotal absolu 
tion ; or whether other general testimonies of their repentance be sufficient 
to this end ; it seems highly requisite, if not absolutely necessary, to all 
true penitents, where the sacerdotal absolution can be had, that, as it is a 
means God has appointed to declare the forgiveness of sins, it ought to be 
had. 3 

He adds those who refuse absolution in contempt are, using the 
softest terms, in a very dangerous state. 

The same writer, preaching to criminals found guilty of murder, 
says : 

A Third Condition of Repentance is Confession ; First to God, and 
that not only of your Sins in general, but in as particular a Manner as you 
can call them to Remembrance, that so you may, in some measure, pro 
portion your Sorrow and Humiliation to the Nature and Degree of your 

2. To Men; especially to him who has in a more peculiar Manner 
the Guide and Direction of your Consciences . . . but besides there is 

Charles Wheatly, A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, ch. xi. 
5, ed. G. E. Corrie, Cambridge, 1859, pp. 527, 528. 

2 Questions and Answers Concerning the two religions, viz. that of the Church of 
England, and the Other, Of the Church of Rome, London, 1723, p. 37. No printer's 
name. Bodleian Library, Pamphl. 374. 

3 Richard Fiddes, Theologia Speculativa : or, the first part of a body of divinity, 
London, Bernard Lintot, 1718, Book IV. Art. x. p. 598. 



another very weighty and important Reason, why Penitents should make 
particular Confession of their Sins to their spiritual Guides, and which I 
cannot give you better than in the Words of our admirable Liturgy, viz. 
That by the Ministry of God's holy Word &C. 1 

He continues the quotation from the exhortation to Com 

The celebrated philosopher, Dr. Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, 
has no doubt Pascal's exposure of Jesuit morals in his eye, when he 
condemns the casuistry of the Church of Rome. 

I had forgot to say a word of Confession, which you mention as an 
advantage in the Church of Rome which is not to be had in ours. But it 
may be had in our communion, by any who please to have it ; and, I 
admit, it may be very usefully practised. But, as it is managed in the 
Church of Rome, I apprehend it doth infinitely more mischief than good. 
Their casuistry seemeth a disgrace, not only to Christianity, but even to the 
light of nature. 2 

This was written as part of a letter to a friend who was tempted 
to become a Roman Catholic. 

Dr. Wilson, the good Bishop of Sodor and Man, put this high 
standard before his clergy : 

of Ad Clerum. Qualifications of a Good Confessor. A Blameless Life. 

Of an Unviolable Secresy, a Sweet Behaviour to Allure and to comfort 
Sinners. Courage to Reprove, and Prudence to Apply fit Remedies to 
Troubled Consciences, and to let them know that God respects Sincerity 
of Heart above all things. Pag. 47. 3 

And again : 

[The priest] would mightily abuse his Power, if he should Pronounce 
one Penitent, who has been persuaded to tell his Faults, without consider 
ing seriously how to leave them, and purposing sincerely to do so. And 
certainly the best way to satisfye one's conscience whether we are truly 
penitent, is for a while to try whether we keep up sincerely to our Resolu 
tions of Forsaking every sin. 4 

The next authority to be quoted is Dr. Seeker, Archbishop of 

1 Richard Fiddes, Fifty two Practical Discourses, London, 1720. Sermon xv. to 
the Criminals in York Castle, July 4, 1708, p. 182 end of Sermon. 

2 The Works of George Berkeley, ed. A. C. Fraser, Oxford, 1901, vol. iv. p. 532. 
Letter to Sir John James, 1741. 

3 Thomas Wilson, Supplement to Maxims of Piety and Morality, 52 in Works, 
Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1860, vol. v. p. 532, No. 52. 

4 ibid. p. 540, No. 78. 


Still in many Cases acknowledging the Errors of our Lives, and open 
ing the State of our Souls to the Ministers of God's Word, for their Opinion, 
their Advice, and their Prayers, may be extremely useful, sometimes nec 
essary. And whenever Persons think it so, we are ready both to hear 
them with the utmost Secresy, and to assist them with our best Care : to 
direct them how they may be forgiven, if we think they are not ; to pro 
nounce them forgiven, if we think they are. 1 

Dr. Johnson was consulted by a man who ought to have had no 
scruples at all, for his master had given him permission to take as 
much as be pleased of certain goods. 

He told me that he was oppressed by scruples of conscience : I blamed 
him gently for not applying, as the rules of our church direct, to his parish 
priest or other discreet clergyman. 

He was dismissed not so gently as he was received. " Sir (said I) 
teize me no more about such airy nothings." 2 

In bodily or spiritual sickness Dr. George Home, the Bishop of 
Norwich, advises the patient thus : 

More especially " let them send for the elders of the church " whose 
continual employment it is to present sinners to Christ. . . . He shall 
hear the voice of Jesus saying to him by his word, by the absolution of 
the church, and the testimony of his conscience through the holy Ghost 
" Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins be forgiven thee ". 3 

And speaking of the diseases of the soul he says that 

when sick, or wounded by sin, it must be recovered and restored by 
godly counsel and wholesome discipline, by penance and absolution, by 
the medicines of the word and sacraments, as duly and properly adminis 
tered in the church, by the lawfully and regularly appointed delegates and 
representatives of the physician of souls. 4 

Hey disliking greatly the practice of private confession has to 
own that 

The church of England may seem, from some things, to approach 
towards Romish Confession. 

After quoting from Bishop Sparrow's Rationale the three parts of 
Repentance, Hey goes on : 

1 Thomas Seeker, Sermons on several Subjects, ed. by Beilby Porteus and George 
Stinton, London, Rivington, 1771, vol. vi. p. 357. Sermon xiv. 

2 Hesther Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, second ed. London, 
Cadell, 1786, p. 226. 

3 George Home, Discourses on several Subjects and Occasions, second ed. Oxford, 
I 795> vol. iii. p. 306. " The paralytic healed." 

* ibid, third ed. London, Robinson, 1799, vol. ii. p. 164, on Ephes. iv. 7 preached 
before the University of Oxford on June 8, 1757. 



Confession, in some sort private, is often commended by our Divines, 
and even in our Liturgy : we may instance in the first Exhortation to the 
Communion, and in the Visitation of the Sick. 1 

Next he does his best to neutralise what the Prayer Book says. 

Sir George Pretyman Tomline was Bishop of Lincoln and then 
Bishop of Winchester, dying in 1827. Dealing with the twenty- 
fifth Article of Religion he says : 

Confession of sins to God is an indispensable duty, and confession to 
priests may sometimes be useful, by leading to effectual repentance ; and 
therefore our church encourages its members to use confidential confession 
to their priest, or to any other minister of God's holy word. 2 

Dr. Herbert Marsh was Lady Margaret Professor at Cambridge, 
and afterwards became Bishop of LlandafYand then of Peterborough. 
He distinguishes between the Roman and Anglican scheme of con 
fession thus : 

The case is widely different, when men voluntarily go to consult their 
ministers, in order to seek relief for a troubled conscience, and relate to 
him at their own discretion the offences, which cause their uneasiness. Now 
the Confessions required by the Church of England are general Confessions 
to Almighty God, in which the Priest joins with the congregation : and 
though on certain occasions especial Confession is recommended it always 
depends on the will of the person himself. 3 

There is the testimony of a Lutheran, travelling in England, in 
favour of our practice. In 1683, a chaplain, in waiting upon a 
young Prince of Sweden, expressed himself as much satisfied with 
the Common Prayer Book ; and 

confessed wee had retained very much of the practices of the Primitive 
Church, and more particularly that wee had retain'd Confession, Absolution, 
and soe many Feasts and Fasts. 4 

The office of Confessor continued in the King's Household 
throughout our period. 

The first day of November 1675 the said Mr. Stephen Crespion was 
sworne Confessor to his Majesties Household. 

When he died he was apparently followed by Mr. RadclifTe ; and 

1 John Hey, Lectures in Divinity, Book IV. Art. xxv. 4. Cambridge, 1798, vol. iv. 
p. 218. 

2 George Pretyman Tomline, Elements of Christian Theology, London, 1799, vol. 
ii. p. 424. Exposition of the Thirty Nine Articles, Part III. Art. xxv. 

3 Herbert Marsh, A comparative view of the Churches of England and Rome, 
Cambridge, 1814, ch. ix. p. 195. 

4 1683, June 13, in Miscellanea : comprising the Works and Letters of Dennis Gran- 
ville, Surtees Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 171. 


then the Rev. Mr. Samuel Bentham succeeded in this office on 
Nov. 9, I/I6. 1 

Later on there may be traced appointments to the office of 
Confessor to the King's Houshold. 2 It does not seem to have 
ceased until the middle of the nineteenth century. The list of 
Confessors from 1606 to 1833 is given by Dr. Sheppard, the last 
being appointed in that year and succeeded in 1859 by a clergyman 
with a new name of office : Chaplain at the Palace of St. James ? 

The word absolution does not always mean during this period 
a solemn administration of a rite, either in Church or in Court. It 
is used loosely, not as a word of art. 

The episcopal absolution seems to be spoken of in an irregular 
sort of way. The Dean of Durham, Dr. Denis Granville, wishing 
to clear himself to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Sancroft, on 
Easter Even, 1685, says : 

As for any infirmities and imprudences in this transaction, I beg God's, 
my lord's [of Durham], and particularly your Grace's absolution. 4 

So also Miss Burney, when at Bath, says they had a most ex 
cellent sermon on the Sunday from the Bishop of Peterborough, 
Dr. HinchclifTe, who after dinner " proposed a frolic," which was to 
drink tea at Spring Gardens. Mrs. Thrale had invited company, 
and, on returning from this "frolic," found her house full of people. 
She " was in horrid confusion ; but as the Bishop gave her absolu 
tion, her apologies were very good naturedly accepted in general ". 5 

Dr. Haweis, one of the more prominent Calvinistic clergymen 
in the Church of England at the end of the eighteenth century, is 
credited with an attack upon Dr. Pretyman Tomline, the Bishop 
of Lincoln mentioned above, in which he remarks, not without 
sarcasm, that if what he says cannot be made good, " I shall then 
take shame to myself, and implore your Lordship's absolution ". 6 

1 The Old Cheque Book, ed. Rimbault, Camden Society, 1872. New Series III. 
pp. 15, 26, 28. 

2 See Cardanus Rider, Sheet Almanack for 1778, p. 76, and Royal Kalendar for 
1181, p. 130, and Rider's British Merlin for 1829 under Chapel Royal when the Confessor 
of the Household is Henry Fly, D.D. F.R. and A.S. 

3 J. Edgar Sheppard, Memorials of St. James's Palace, Longmans, 1894, v l- " P- 

4 Miscellanea, Surtees Society, 1861, vol. xxxvii. p. 210. 

5 Diary and Letters of Madame d*Arblay, 1780, June, London, Colburn, 1842, 
vol. i. p. 371. 

fi Church of England vindicated from Misrepresentation, London, Mawman, 1801, 
p. 19. 



f. 229 b.] By vertue of an order from the reverend Mr. Tanner, Comis- 
sary of the Archdeaconry for Amy King to do penance in the Parish 
Church of Helmingham. 

1 To be repeated by the Person doing Penance after the Minister as followeth? 
NB. After the service, before the Psalms, and Sermon 
I Amy King, late of the Parish of Helmingham, do here, in the pre 
sence of Almighty God, and this congregation, humbly confess and acknow 
ledge, that I have, most grievously, offended his divine Majesty, in defiling 
my body, by committing, the heinous Sin of Fornication, with William Pells 
of Otley, For which, my said foul offence, I am heartily sorry, and do 
sincerely, repent thereof, and beg of God, mercy and forgiveness, for the 
same. Desiring all you, here present, to take warning, at this my punish 
ment, for the 3 avoiding, any the like wickedness, and to pray God, for me 
and with me, that his wrath, and plagues, threatned against whoremongers, 
adulterers, fornicators, and all such unclean persons, may be turned away, 
from me, and this 4 parish town, wherein I now dwell, desiring also, all 
good people, to forgive me, this scandal, which I have given them, and the 
profession, of Christianity, And I do promise, by Gods grace, for the re 
mainder of my days, to live soberly, chastly, and godly, which that I may 
do, I desire you all, to joyn with me, in prayer, and 5 say the Lords Prayer. 5 
Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy 
kingd. come ; Thy will be done in Earth 6 as it is in heaven, give 
us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses, as we 
forgive them that trespass against us, And lead us not into 
Tempt : 7 but deliver us from evil. 7 For thine is the Kingd. and 
the Power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen, 
f. 229.] After this you may say to the apparitor I won't insist upon the 

1 It was done the 5th of Aug. 1733. 

2 To . . . followeth : underlined. [The punctuation in the confession is due to 
the necessity of reciting the form slowly, "after the Minister".] 

3 interlined. *ibid. 5 * 5 and . . . Prayer: interlined. 

6 corrected from heaven. 7 ' 7 "but . . . evil" added in margin. 



riguour to have her stand all the time of the sermon ; You may take * of 
her sheet ; 2 and let her sit in the lower end of the Church. 


A schedule of penance enjoined the 13' day of June in the year of our 
Lord 1733, by the worshipful John Tanner Clerke Master of arts in and 
throughout the whole archdeaconry Official lawfully constituted to be per 
formed by William Pells of Otley and Amy King of Helmingham in the 
county of Suffolk and Archdeaconry aforesaid for the Crime of fornication 
by them committed. 

The said William Pells and Amy King shall be present in the Parish 
Churches of Otley and Helmingh[am] aforesaid on some Sunday or sun- 
days before the last day of August next ensuing standing penitently in the 
middle Alley before the Ministers seat or the pulpit, cloathed in a white 
sheet, holding a white rod or wand in their hands, having papers pinn'd 
upon their breasts describing their faults or sin, And then and there in 
such sort to continue during the whole time of divine service and at the 
end of the same before the congregation is dismiss'd and the blessing given 
shall upon their knees make their humble confession repeating every word 
after the Minister with an audible voice as followeth : 

[end off. 229] 


In the Archdeaconry Court of Oxford. 

Bridges against Castle. 

A Schedule of Penance enjoined Thomas Catlef of the parish of 
Saint Ebbe in the city and Archdeaconry of Oxford by the Reverend 
William Brown clerk Master of Arts surrogate of the Reverend George 
Turner clerk Master of Arts Official Principal of the Reverend the Arch 
deacon of Oxford lawfully constituted to be by him performed in the 
parish church of Saint Ebbe aforesaid on Sunday the twenty second day of 
February in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one. 

The said Thomas Castle shall on the day and year aforesaid in the 
parish church of Saint Ebbe aforesaid immediately after Morning Prayers 
and Sermon ended before the Minister churchwardens and two other Par 
ishioners of the said parish, after the Minister distinctly repeat the follow 
ing words. 

Good People. Whereas I contrary to good manners and 
Christian Charity have unjustly reproached and defamed Elizabeth 

1 sic. * Scored through in MS. 


Bridges wife of John Bridges of the Chapelry of North Hincksey 
in the county of Berks, by saying to her " You are a strumpet and 
I knew you when you lay on the Botley Road," of which I am con 
victed in the said Court by my own Confession and by the decree 
of that Court am come hither to acknowledge my Fault, which I 
heartily do, and am sorry that I have so defamed and injured the 
said Elizabeth Bridges and do hereby ask forgiveness of the same. 
This agrees with the Acts of Court. 

Andw Walsh | 
Depty Regr.J 

This schedule of Penance was duly performed by the said Thomas 
Castle in the parish Church of Saint Ebbe aforesaid on the day and time 
above mentioned in the presence of us 

[Here follow names of Minister, Churchwardens, and two parishioners.] 


WHEN the storm of the Rebellion was over, Little Gidding could 
hardly fail to inspire some to follow its example. And though 
many of the schemes proposed in our period came to nought, yet it 
is good to see the idea of a life devoted in common to recollection, 
prayer, study, or charity, springing up in so many quarters, and en 
couraged during our period by those who can speak with authority. 
The first of these projects took shape but a short time before the 
return of the King. 

On September 3, 1659, thus six months before the Restoration, 
good Mr. Evelyn wrote from Says-Court to the famous Robert Boyle, 
explaining his intention to quit the world, and found a society " to 
preserve science and cultivate themselves". 

First, thirty or forty acres of land were to be purchased near 
London ; the building was to be divided up so that each apartment 
" should contain a small bed chamber, an outward room, a closet, and 
a private garden, somewhat after the manner of the Carthusians. 
There should likewise be one laboratory, with a repository for 
rarities and things of nature ; aviary, dovehouse, physick garden, 
kitchen garden, and a plantation of orchard fruit &c." He has 
already said there was to be " a pretty chapel " and there was also 
to be a chaplain. 

As to diet, there was to be : " At one meal a day, of two dishes 
only (unless some little extraordinary upon particular days or oc 
casions, then never exceeding three) of plain and wholesome meat ; 
a small refection at night ". 

In the following " Orders " it may be particularly noted that " the 
principal end of the institution" is " the promotion of experimental 


At six in summer prayers in the chapel. To study till half an hour 
after eleven. Dinner in the refectory till one. Retire till four. Then 



called to conversation (if the weather invite) abroad, else in the refectory ; 
this never omitted but in case of sickness. Prayers at seven. To bed at 

In the winter the same with some abatements for the hours, because 
the nights are tedious, and the evenings conversation more agreeable ; this 
in the refectory. All play interdicted, sans bowls, chess, &c. 

Every one to cultivate his own garden. One month in spring a course 
in the elaboratory on vegetables, &c. In the winter a month on other ex 
periments. Every man to have a key of the elaboratory, pavilion, library, 
repository, &c. 

Weekly fast. Communion once every fortnight, or month at least. 

No stranger easily admitted to visit any of the Society, but upon certain 
days weekly, and only after dinner. 

Any of the Society may have his commons to his apartment, if he will 
not meet in the refectory, so it be not above twice a week. 

Every Thursday shall be a musick meeting at conversation hours. 

Every person of the Society shall render some publick account of his 
studies weekly, if thought fit, and especially shall be recommended the pro 
motion of experimental knowledge, as the principal end of the institution. 

There shall be a decent habit and uniform used in the college. One 
month in the year may be spent in London, or any of the Universities, or 
in a perambulation for the publick benefit, &c. with what other orders shall 
be thought convenient &C. 1 

It does not appear from the after life of John Evelyn that he ever 
accomplished his design of leaving the world. There may be noted 
once more the great contrast to other societies of this kind : that 
the aim of the college was the increase of knowledge, and that by 
way of experiment, as would become, indeed, a society founded by 
one of the Fellows first elected into the new formed Royal Society 
in 1661. 

Ten years after, another of these abortive schemes entered into 
the head of Mr. Edward Chamberlayne, who, with other friends, 
was prepared to begin a convent for women. His correspondent 
in all likelihood was Dr. Basire. 

London, 31. Jan. [1670.] 
Worthy Dr. 

At the request of some worthy persons I have undertaken a 
designe which you and all good men will doubtlesse much favour. It is 
for erecting a Colledge not far from hence for the education of young 
ladies, under the government of some grave matrons, who shall resolve to 
lead the rest of their dayes in a single retired religious life ; which many 

1 Diary of John Evelyn, ed. Bray and Wheatley, London, Bickers, 1879, vol. iii. 
p. 265. 


have a long time wisht, but none have made it their busines to bring to 
effect. My request to you is for your advice herein. Our good friend Dr. 
Thriscrosse hath told me that you have mentioned some such Colledge to 
be in Germany among either Lutherans or Calvinists. Herein chiefly I 
desire to be satisfied, at what place you have seen, or been certainly in 
formed, of such a Colledge, or Protestant Monastery, and whether you 
know any one here who can informe me of their Rules and Constitutions, 
and whether you believe that such a thing may be practised in England ; if 
so, then that you will please to promote the designe by inviting such ladyes 
of your acquaintance in any parts of England whom you know well 
qualifyed and fit to be of the Society, and such other well disposed persons 
as may contribute towards the charges, which, I hope will not be great ; 
for at first there will only need a house with good gardens, well secured 
with walls, and a constant salary for a Chaplain ; and for this divers have 
already promised to subscribe in a bountiful manner. Much more I could 
let you know of this matter, but I shall now only beg pardon for this great 
boldnesse, and assure you that I am, Sir, 

Your very humble servant 
Edw. Chamberlayne. 1 

It is clear that Mrs. Godolphin at one time had thoughts that 
a religious vocation was hers ; but Evelyn observes : 

that the Heroick tymes were now antiquated, and people proceeded by 
gentler and more compendious methods ; and the decencyes of her sex, 
and custome of the nation, and the honour of the condition, and the want 
of Monasteryes and pyous Recesses obliged her to marry. 2 

And when at Paris she writes : 

I did not imagine the tenth part of the Superstition I find in it, 
yett still could approve of their Orders. Their Nunneryes seem to be 
holy Institutions, if they are abused, 'tis not their fault : what is not per 
verted ? 3 

A scheme for a College of Maids was put forth by Clement 
Baskdale (so stated in Anthony Wood's handwriting on the first 
page) on Aug. 12, 1675, in which rules much resembling those of 
an Oxford College for men are given. At the end of the tract, 
under Postscript, the author says : 

As for the Religious Orders of Virgins in the Roman Church, though 
[in] some of those very great abuses have crept in ; yet I think 'twere to 
be wish'd, that those who supprest them in this Nation, had confin'd them- 

1 The Correspondence of John Cosin, Surtees Society, vol. Iv. 1872, part ii. p. 384, 
from Mickleton MSS. xlvi. 243. 

2 The Life of Mrs. Godolphin, by John Evelyn, London, Sampson Low, 1888, p. 

*ibid. p. 120. 


selves within the bounds of a Reformation, by choosing rather to rectifie 
and regulate, than abolish them. 1 

In 1682 (January 27) Mr. Evelyn was consulted by the King 
and the Archbishop about " the erection of a Royal Hospital for 
emerited souldiers" in which Sir Stephen Fox was much interested, 
and which he was apparently about to found. This is what we are 

He also engag'd me to consider of what laws and orders were fit for 
the government, which was to be in every respect as strict as in any 
religious convent. 

This again seems to have come to nothing. But the plan of 
Mrs. Astell reached near to success. She, reflecting upon the evils 
of her time, was led to think of a remedy for them ; and this was 
her remedy. 

Now as to the Proposal, it is to erect a Monastery, or if you will (to 
avoid giving offence to the scrupulous and injudicious, by names which 
tho' innocent in themselves, have been abus'd by superstitious Practices,) 
we will call it a Religious Retirement, and such as shall have a double 
aspect, being not only a Retreat from the World for those who desire that 
advantage, but likewise, an Institution and previous discipline, to fit us 
to do the greatest good in it. 2 

But there was a busybody at hand to confound such a project. 

The scheme given in her [Mrs. AstelPs] proposal, seemed so reasonable, 
and wrought so far upon a certain great lady, that she had designed to 
give ten thousand pounds towards erecting a sort of college for the educa 
tion and improvement of the female sex : and as a retreat for those ladies 
who nauseating the parade of the world, might here find a happy recess 
for the noise and hurry of it. But this design coming to the ears of 
Bishop Burnet, he immediately went to that lady, and so powerfully remon 
strated against it, telling her it would look like preparing a way for Popish 
Orders, that it would be reputed a Nunnery, &c. that he utterly frustrated 
that noble design. 3 

To Mrs. Astell the dangers of living free in the world must have 
seemed very great. The infection of ill company was much to be 
avoided. She quotes the saying Liberty will corrupt an Angel:*" 

1 A Letter touching a Colledge of Maids, or, a Virgin-Society, Bodleian Library, 
Wood 130. 

2 [Mary Astell,] A Serious Proposal to the Ladies for the Advancement of their True 
and Greatest Interest, Part I. third edition, London, Wilkin, 1696, p. 40. 

3 George Ballard, Memoirs of several ladies of Great Britain, Oxford, 1752, p. 146 
(thus ; but a printer's error for 446). 

4 Astell, p. 78. 


and her mind is at one with the sentiment in the ninth chapter of the 
first book of the Imitation : " Go where thou wilt thou shall not find 
peace save in humble obedience to the will of a master". The 
modern idea is that Liberty is the first thing to be claimed, without 
which life is not worth having. We see the results of this doctrine 
in practice in the world around us. 

Swift in 1709 ridiculed this scheme of Mrs. Astell's by pointing 
to what folly it might lead if carried out. Sir Walter Scott, at least, 
thinks that it is Mrs. Astell's scheme which is laughed at in the 
Tatler under the name of the Platonics, and the mention of the 
name of the Rector of Bemerton, John Norris, Mrs. Astell's corres 
pondent, makes the assumption very plausible. 

This is Swift's account of what he calls Platonnes. 

There were, some years since, a set of these ladies who were of quality, 
and gave out, that virginity was to be their state of life during this mortal 
condition, and therefore resolved to join their fortunes and erect a nun 
nery. The place of residence was pitched upon ; and a pretty situation, 
full of natural falls and risings of waters, with shady coverts &C. 1 

Then one Mr. Rake, with a number of his sex, succeeds in pene 
trating into this protestant nunnery, with the usual results. 

Sir George Wheler, a Prebendary of Durham, had been in the 
East, and while he commends the Greek Monasteries, yet speaks 
severely against the Western. He puts aside the Communities at 
Bromley founded by Dr. John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, and at 
Winchester by Dr. George Morley, Bishop of that See, as not being 
convents but Colleges of Retirement for old age. Those for the 
Retirement of Single Men, it would seem, he would not admit at 
all. But he devotes his fourth Chapter to Monasteries for Women, 
which he opens with these words : 

Convents for single Women seem more convenient, if not very neces 
sary for all times and Countries, and are by far less dangerous, since no 
considerable detriment can be expected from them, if due regard be had 
in composing the Rules of their Institution, by such like precautions as 
these. 2 

His rules would allow these nuns to marry, to remain or leave 
the Society, but while they remain to be enclosed, their reputation 

1 Jon. Swift, Tatler, No. 32, Thursday, June 20, 1709: in Works, ed. W. Scott, 
Edinburgh, 1814, vol. ix. p. 206. 

2 [George Wheler,] The Protestant Monastery : or, Christian Oeconomicks. Contain 
ing Directions for the Religious Conduct of a Family, 1698, p. 14. 


before admission to be of a spotless modesty, and the government 
of the Society to be " committed to none, but such, whose Virtue, 
Conduct, Age and Experience, should render them worthy of that 
Honour, and are rather to be chosen out of the Widows ". His 
book otherwise is one of suggestions for the regulating of a Christian 
family rather than for the encouragement of a religious life. 

It appears that the following scheme of Edward Stephens was 
actually brought into existence, as the others were not. In the 
Bodleian Library there are two copies of a Proposal in an anony 
mous tract of four pages, without date, place, or printer. On the 
third page there is a sort of advertisement of Socrates Christianus, 
allowing the Proposal to be by the author of Socrates Christianus, 
which is usually attributed to Edward Stephens. If this be so, the 
Proposal must have appeared after 1700, the date of Socrates 
Christianus. The following is the introduction to the scheme. 


for tJie Accommodation of some Devout Women, with such mean but 
convenient Habitation, Work, Wages, and Relief, that they may have Time 
and Strength for the Worship of God, both in Publick and Private, and Free 
dom of Mind for Meditation and Religious Exercises, while their Hands are 
Imploy'dfor Maintenance of the Body; and that while they enjoy the Bene 
fit of such Accommodations for their own Souls, their Benefactors, and the 
Church and Nation, may be benefitted by their Constant Prayers. 1 

These women were to be employed upon Works of Charity ; 
in visiting the sick and needy ; carrying alms where there may be 
occasion ; and spreading the Kingdom of Christ. Also in the edu 
cation of young women in piety and virtue. 

He has a marginal note considering how single men might live 
together in a Religious Society, but defers putting forth a scheme 
till he sees the success of the earlier for women. What is to be 
noticed is the prominent appearance in the scheme of practical 
works of benevolence, as a great aim of the institution. 

In another separate tract he is able to announce the definite for 
mation of the Society ; and at the end of the extract may be ob 
served a suggestion the carrying out of which was a great purpose 
in Stephens' life, a daily celebration of the Eucharist. 

1 Bodleian Library, 4 Rawl. 564. No. 27. and another copy : Th. 4 R. 66. 


He hath also begun to put his Proposal into Practice, having, for that 
purpose procured a Friend to take a Lease of a convenient House of near 
4o/. per Annum ; his Design therein being to give an Experiment and Ex 
ample of the great Use and Benefit thereof, and not merely the Accommo 
dation of one Twenty Women. This he hath begun in hope and confi 
dence that there is yet so much real Piety and Charity left in this City, and 
especially in this Sex, as not to suffer such a Proposal to come to nothing 
for want of Supplies, and become a Publick Testimony of the Barrenness 
and Insincerity of the Religion professed amongst us, as another Good 
Work, begun by him for the Restitution of the most Solemn Christian Wor 
ship to its Integrity and just Frequency of a Daily Celebration}* 

This daily celebration had been begun in private in 1692 and 
carried on at St. Giles 1 Cripplegate in 1694; and later on at St. 
Alphage. 2 It must have been going on, not at St. Giles, but else 
where, in 1 706, for Dr. Thomas Smith writes to Hearne on Feb. 1 9 : 

Here is indeed now in towne Mr. Edward Stephens, . . . who in his little 
congregation of daily Communicants, consisting of five or six women, 
makes use of the first Liturgy of King Edward VI, with some few additions 
and patches of his owne. 3 

He had lost one of his little Society, evidently much to his 
chagrin, for he published the following quarto tract : 

A true account of the unaccountable Dealings of some Roman Catholick 
Missionars of this Nation, for Seducing Proselytes from the Simplicity of 
the Gospel, to the Roman Mystery of Iniquity. With a particular Relation 
of a Gentlewoman lately so seduced out of a true Catholick Family. 

That is, his own. The pamphlet was printed and sold in 1703 
by J. Downing. 

The only rules of Edward Stephens' little Society that have 
come down to us are these : 

1. To meet daily at five in the Morning at a daily Communion. 

2. To endeavour, as near as we could, in all things to follow the example 
of the ancient Christians ; and, 

3. To avoid giving offence to any, but especially to the Church of 


1 Bodleian Library, Th. 4 R. 66, p. 8 of a Letter to a Lady, concerning . . . Celi- 
bacie &>c., the colophon has: Printed for the Religious Society of Single Women. 

2 In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning the Use of some Portions 
of other Parts of our Liturgy in the Communion Service upon just occasion, in a Collec 
tion of Tracts and Papers, London, printed for the Author [Edw. Stephens] 1702. 

3 Thomas Hearne, Remarks and Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1885, vol. 
i. p. 188. Stephens' Liturgy of the Ancients was printed in 4 in 1696 and reprinted by 
Peter Hall in the second volume of his Fragmenta Liturgica, Bath, Binns and Good 
win, 1848. 

4 Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 21 Feb. 1694-5. Bodleian Library, 4 
Rawl. 564. No. 26. See also The Second Part of the Apology of Socrates Christianas, p. 5. 


Atterbury laments the entire destruction of monastic institutions : 

'Twas the great Blemish of our Reformation, that, when Religious 
Houses were suppressed, some Part, at least, of their Revenues was not 
restored to its Original Use. 1 

With this last wish we may compare a remark in one of his 
essays by Dr. Horne, afterwards Bishop of Norwich : 

It is well known what strange work there has been in the world, under 
the name and pretence of Reformation ; how often it has turned out to be, 
in reality, Deformation ; or, at best, a tinkering sort of business, where, 
while one hole has been mended, two have been made. 2 

William Law, with his disposition to asceticism, naturally com 
mends the religious life : 

If therefore persons, of either sex, mov'd with the life of Miranda, and 
desirous of perfection, should unite themselves into little societies, professing 
voluntary poverty, virginity, retirement and devotion, living upon bare neces 
saries, that some might be reliev'd by their charities, and all be blessed with 
their prayers, and benefited by their example : Or if for want of this, they 
should practice the same manner of life, in as high a degree as they could 
by themselves ; such persons would be so far from being chargeable 
with any superstition or blind devotion, that they might be justly said to 
restore that piety, which was the boast and glory of the Church, when its 
greatest saints were alive. 3 

William Law formed a very small society, hardly more than two 
women, who lived under his guidance in a house at Kings ClirTe, 
spending in good works that part of their income not needed for a 
most simple and plain way of living. On Law's death in 1761 this 
strict way of living was given up. 4 

Sir William Cunninghame, Baronet, of Caprington and Lam- 
brughton, who died in 1740, writing from his house in the Lawn 
Market, Edinburgh, on March 17, 1737 to Dr. Thomas Sharp, the 
Archdeacon of Northumberland, encloses an elaborate scheme for 
erecting a Society of Ladies of Quality, and Gentlewomen of Great 
Britain in order to a pious and comfortable Retirement. It extends 
over five octavo pages and it is too long to be reproduced here ; but 
a portion of the covering letter may be given. 

1 Francis Atterbury, Maxims, London, 1723, p. 13. 

2 Olla Podrida, No. 23, Saturday, August 18, 1787. Oxford, Rann, 1788, p. 133. 

3 William Law, A serious call to a devout and holy Life, ch. ix. London, Innys and 
Richardson, 1753, p. 135. 

4 See D.N.B. under William Law. 


Diverse speculations have been had by such as wish heartily well to the 
good ladies on this occasion ; but after mature deliberation, none has appeared 
more agreeable than to propose a Nunnery of Protestant religious and vir 
tuous persons^ well born, of the female sex, conforming themselves to the worship 
of the Church of England, as by law established : a scheme of this society 
is, with all humble deference, inclosed here, for your perusal at hours of 
greatest leisure, and submitted to your opinion : and if either this, or any 
such model, happen to take, it must of course be subject to such regulations 
as shall be concerted by the Bishop of the Diocese where such nunnery 
shall be founded, with advice and consent of the Dean and Chapter of such 
diocese. 1 

He then suggests the diocese of Durham, and the site Sedge- 
field, for the nunnery. The importance given to the consent of 
the Dean and Chapter to the action of the Bishop may be noted, 
as indicating a knowledge of their function as council to the 
Bishop. He adds that there are to be no vows, but each nun is to 
be at liberty to quit the nunnery, timely notice being given to the 
prioress and bishop. 

The Archdeacon returns a reply, unfavourable on almost all the 
points laid before him. 

The great philosopher, Dr. George Berkeley, in attempting to 
dissuade from popery, writes thus of the religious life : 

That the contemplative and ascetic life may be greatly promoted by 
living in community and by rules, I freely admit. . . . 

I should like a convent without a vow, or perpetual obligation. Doubt 
less a college or monastery (not a resource for younger brothers, not a nursery 
for ignorance, laziness, and superstition) receiving only grown persons of ap 
proved piety, learning, and a contemplative turn, would be a great means 
of improving the Divine Philosophy, and brightening up the face of religion 
in our Church. But I should still expect more success from a number of 
gentlemen, living independently at Oxford, who made divine things their 
study, and proposed to wean themselves from what is called the world. 2 

In John Kirkby's curious romance he pictures an Utopian 
Church of England, where they use a liturgy like that in the First 
Book of King Edward VI. At baptism it is said that 

the other sex were intrusted, in a separate Apartment, to the Care of a 
sufficient Number of pious Women, called Deaconesses, who, out of Love 

1 The Life of John Sharp, ed. by Thomas Newcome, London, Rivington, 1825, 
vol. ii. App. iii. p. 282. 

*The Works of George Berkeley, ed. A. C. Fraser, Oxford, 1901, vol. iv. p. 529. 
Letter to Sir John James,; 1741. 



to a religious Life, had sequestred themselves from the World for that 
Purpose. 1 

Kirkby was a Nonjuror ; tutor to the Gibbon family at Putney ; 
but I do not know if he were a dissenting or conforming Nonjuror. 

Samuel Richardson makes Sir Charles Grandison speak warmly 
in favour of religious societies living in retirement ; and he gives an 
outline of his scheme which is too long to be reproduced here com 
plete. The hero begins : 

We want to see established in every county Protestant Nunneries^ in 
which single women, of small or no fortunes, might live with all manner 
of freedom, under such regulations as it would be a disgrace for a modest 
or good woman not to comply with, were she absolutely on her own hands ; 
and to be allowed to quit it whenever they pleased. 2 

What we may call his quire sisters were to be women of good 
birth ; and the lay sisters hopeful children of the industrious poor. 
They were to board young women of small fortune, married women 
whose husbands were out of England for a time, and widows. 
Some profitable employments, it may be presumed in needlework, 
were to be found them. A truly worthy divine to be director of 
the Society at the appointment of the bishop of the diocese. 

Later on his hero writes thus : 

Permit me to say, that though a Protestant, I am not an enemy to 
such foundations in general. I could wish, under proper regulations, that 
we had nunneries among us. I would not, indeed, have the obligation 
upon nuns be perpetual : let them have liberty, at the end of every two or 
three years, to renew their vows, or otherwise, by the consent of friends. 3 

Dr. Johnson is divided between admiration for piety and fear 
of oppression. 

I never read of a hermit but in imagination I kiss his feet ; never of a 
monastery, but I could fall on my knees, and kiss the pavement. But I 
think putting young people there, who know nothing of life, nothing of 
retirement, is dangerous and wicked. ... I have thought of retiring, and 
have talked of it to a friend ; but I find my vocation is rather to active life. 

Boswell then said some young monks might be allowed, to show 
that it is not age alone that can retire to pious solitude. But John 
son would not allow this. 4 

1 [John Kirkby,] The Capacity and Extent of the Human Understanding exemplified 
in the Extraordinary Case of Automathes, London, Manby and Cox, 1745, p. 14. 

a Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Bart. vol. iv. Letter 
xxii. Chapman and Hall, 1902, vol. iv. p. 194. 

3 ibid. vol. v. Letter li. p. 335. 

4 James Boswell, The Journal of a tour to the Hebrides, 19 August. 


Earlier in life he had written in a judicial strain attempting to 
give both sides of the question. 

He that lives well in the world is better than he that lives well in a 
monastery. But, perhaps, every one is not able to stem the temptations 
of publick life ; and if he cannot conquer, he may properly retreat. Some 
have little power to do good, and have likewise little strength to resist evil. 
Many are weary of their conflicts with adversity, and are willing to eject 
those passions which have long busied them in vain. And many are dis 
missed by age and diseases from the more laborious duties of society. In 
monasteries the weak and timorous may be happily sheltered, the weary 
may repose, and the penitent may meditate. 1 

Goldsmith thought that Johnson himself would have made a 
decent monk. 2 In one way he was qualified to become a monk, if 
his opinion hold good that convents are idle places, for he was him 
self the most indolent of men. Mrs. Thrale reports : 

And when we talked of convents, and the hardships suffered in them 
" Remember always (said he) that a convent is an idle place, and where 
there is nothing to be done something must be endured" 3 


Not so very long after our period had begun, societies were 
formed which we should nowadays call Guilds. They were purely 
spiritual societies ; their aim being to deepen the love of God in the 
hearts of their members, and next to practice charity towards their 
neighbours. They would be helped in these pious endeavours by 
the encouragement which men feel when they are linked together 
in a band with a common object. Chamberlayne thus describes 
them, in his annual publication, as late as 1755 : 

The Religious Societies are so called, because the particular end and 
design of them is to improve themselves and other in the Knowledge of 
our most Holy Religion, and to animate one another in the serious practice 
of it. 

They were begun in London, about the year 1678 by a few serious young 
Men of the Communion of the Church of England, who, by the Advice and 
Direction of their Spiritual Guides, agreed to meet together frequently for 
Religious Conference, and by Prayer and Psalmody to edifie one another. 
The experience they hereby gained of the blessedness of Religion, and 

1 Samuel Johnson, Rasselas Prince of Abyssinia, ch. xlvii. Cf. a passage in the 
Idler, No. 38. 

2 Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the late Dr. Samuel Johnson, London, J. 
Walker, 1785, p. 194. 

3 Hesther Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnsqn, sc, ed. London, 
Cadell, 1786, p. 92. 



value of Souls, soon animated their endeavours to gain others to join with 
them ; whereby they grew and increased, and new Societies were formed 
by the pattern of the Old : So that there are now above forty distinct 
Bodies of them within the compass of the Bills of Mortality, besides divers 
others in distant parts of the Nation. 

Those that compose these Societies, are all Members of the Church of 
England, and in all matters of Doubt and Difficulty, oblige themselves to 
consult the Established Ministry. They receive the Holy Sacrament at 
least once a Month, and take all convenient opportunities of attending the 
Service of God in Public ; have set up Public Prayers in many Churches 
of the City, procured the Administration of the Sacrament every Holy-Day, 
and maintain Lectures upon the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
almost every Lords Day Evening, in some one or more Churches. 

They industriously apply themselves to the relieving poor Families 
and Orphans, setting Prisoners at Liberty, sollicking Charities for the 
pious Education of poor Children, Visiting and Comforting those that 
are Sick and in Prison, and Reclaiming the Vicious and Dissolute ; in 
promoting Christian Conference, Decency in God's Worship, Family 
Religion, and the Catechizing of young and ignorant People. They have 
been instrumental in bringing several Quakers and Enthusiastical Persons 
to Baptism, and a sober Mind, Reconciling several Dissenters to the Com 
munion of the Church of England, and preserving many unsteady and 
wavering Persons from Popery}* 

The statement of Chamberlayne's gives a good general view of 
the Societies ; but it may be well to consider the matter more in 
detail : and to take first the words of a Bishop of Bath and Wells, 
a contemporary witness. 

The occasion was this : There was a certain number of Young Men, 
who were desirous to make such a Society, and to be concluded by these 
Orders. They applied to a Minister in London to take upon him the In 
spection and Care of them. I was concern'd for that Minister, and there 
upon laid the whole case before that Prelate. He was clearly of opin 
ion that the Young Men were not to be discouraged, and that it was best 
to take care of them, and secure that zeal which they expressed, in the 
right Channel; he was well contented to leave them to the care and 
management of a Minister of the Church of England. Upon which en 
couragement they were admitted. 2 

The account of the rise of these religious societies, given by Dr. 
Josiah Woodward, is confirmed in these terms by Dr. Horneck, 
who may be called the founder of the societies. 

1 John Chamberlayne, Magnae Britanniae Notitia, London, 22nd edition, 1708, p. 
276, Part I. book in. ch. ix. The chapter appears also in the 38th edition, 1755, 
Part I. book in. ch. ix. p. 198. 

2 Richard [Kidder], The life of the Reverend Anthony Horneck, London, Aylmer, 
1698, p.*i6. 


In particular, the late Reverend Dr. Horneck, (who had a very perfect 
knowledge of them, [the religious Societies] and indeed, was an eminent 
Friend, or rather, Father to them, from their first Rise, to the Day of his 
Death) in a Discourse I had with him a little before his Decease, was 
pleased to give his publick Testimony to it, That it was a very faithful and 
modest Account of the whole Matter^ 

It will be safe therefore to take Woodward as our chief guide. 

The Rules which Dr. Horneck framed for them will be found in 
the Appendix to this chapter, with those of St. Giles' Cripplegate. 
We have also the Orders printed in 1724.2 All three have a strong 

With the accession of King James the Second there seemed 
some danger that the prosperity of these Societies might be 
threatened ; some members did indeed turn their backs, but the re 
mainder rather felt the more determined to go on as they had begun 
and even to widen their activities. Still the societies felt bound to 
walk warily in those dangerous days, and to conceal themselves if 
necessary ; so that Woodward informs us : 

In this Juncture, upon Advice, they chang'd the Name of Society^ for 
that of Club ; and instead of meeting at a Friend's House, who might be 
endanger'd by it, they adjourn'd to some Publick- House or other where 
they could have a Room to themselves ; and under the Pretext of spending 
a Shilling or two, they confer'd seriously together in the same Religious 
manner as formerly ; by which honest Artifice they carried on their good 
Design without interruption, even to the end of that unhappy Reign. 3 

We can imagine in the twentieth century the outcry which 
would have been raised by the fanatics, if a Club with a philanthropic 
or virtuous purpose had held its meetings in a public house. The 
modern Manichees would hold that this was in itself to encourage 

Amongst the good works of the Societies it said that 

they set up (at their own Expence) publick Prayers every Evening, at 
Eight of the Clock, at St. Clement Danes, which never wanted a full and 
affectionate Congregation. And not long after, they set up an Evening 
Monthly Lecture in the same Church, to confirm Communicants in their 
holy Purposes and Vows, which they made at the Lord's Tablet 

It is interesting to note that these two experiments continued 
in existence as late as 1714, and we are told the name of one of the 

1 Josiah Woodward, An account of the Rise and Progress of the Religious Societies 
in the City of London, third ed. London, Sympson, 1701, p. 3. 

2 See below, next page. 

3 Josiah Woodward, An account of the Rise, etc. p. 28. l ibid. p. 27. 


founders who encountered much opposition. This is James 
Paterson's account, speaking of St. Clement Danes : 

Morning Prayers are every Day at eleven ; and Evening at three, and 
again at eight in Week-days and seven on Sundays ; which last are main 
tained by the Contributions of some well disposed Parishioners ; but first 
begun by the good Endeavours of Mr. Savigar Upholster in Witch-street, 
tho' with much Opposition carried on by him, and soon after that he died, 

about twenty years ago. 

* * * 

A Monthly Lecture upon the first Sunday, at five a Clock in the 
Evening ; maintained by a Society of the Parish, for the Use of the Poor. 1 

Only the daily prayers are mentioned in I68?. 2 
One circumstance which Woodward reports in his first chapter 
is the spontaneous contemporary growth of similar societies. 

And on this occasion it comes to be known, that in some places the 
very Scope and Design of these Societies have been begun and continued by 
several pious Persons, within these three or four years past, who knew noth 
ing of these London- Societies, nor had so much as heard any Report of them. 3 

Dorrington in 1695 recommends his book on the Lord's Supper 
" to the Societies of Religious Young Men in and about this City " : 4 
and in the same way, Hickes, the Dissenting Nonjuror, thought 
Devotions in the Ancient Way of Offices , which was, it would seem, 
first published in 1700, would be useful " to those Religious Societies 
of which the Reverend Mr. Woodward hath given us an Account ". 5 

In 1724 there were printed in London Orders belonging to a 
Religious- Society* They are very like the orders of the Society 
at St. Giles' Cripplegate which are given in the appendix to this 
chapter. With them are also printed the devotions used at the 
meetings of the Society. Members had to promise to be faithful 
and bear true allegiance to King George. 

In 1724, one of the Societies in the country, at Romney, pub 
lished a hymn book of its own. 7 Some twelve or more of the 

1 James Paterson, Pietas Londinensis, London, Downing and Taylor, 1714, p. 68. 
2 Rules for our more devout Behaviour in the time of Divine Service, London, 
Keble, 1687, p. 78. 
s Woodward, p. 4. 

4 Theophilus Dorrington, A Familiar Guide to the Right and Profitable Receiving 
of the Lord's Supper, London, Aylmer, 1695, Advertisement, Sheet A.5. 

5 Devotions in the Ancient Way of Offices, ed. by George Hickes, London, 1700. 
To the Reader, Signature a 4. 

6 Shelf mark in the Bodleian Library : 141. k. 515. 

7 The Christian Sacrifice of Praises, Consisting of select Psalms and Hymns, with 
Doxologies and proper Tunes for the Use of the Religious Society of Romney. Collected 



hymns would seem to be taken from John Austin's Devotions, 
which may serve to show that averse as the Societies might be to 
Popery, yet they would borrow hymns, and also other devotions 
from popish books like Austin's. 1 

There is in the Bodleian Library a manuscript book (MS. Rawl. 
D. 1312) with this title on its first leaf: 

The Names, Places of Abode, Employments and Occupacions of the 
several Societys in and about the Cities of London and Westminster Be 
longing to the Church of England, 1694. 

Some sixteen Societies are enumerated, meeting at different 
signs in London and Westminster. Only one meets in the vestry 
of a parish church, and that is at St. Alban's Wood Street. Three 
meet at Mr. Watts' house, the sign of the Five Bells in Duke Street 
near Lincoln's Inn Fields. They have different days in the week 
for assembling; six on Sunday night, two on Monday, three on 
Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and three on Thursday. 

Their occupations point to the lower-middle and working classes. 
One Society, that meeting on Thursday, " at Mr. Tho : Castles in 
Cannon-Street near Ab-Church lane " contains members who from 
their occupation may lay claim to education : Tho : Behn, Attorney ; 
Geo. Cook, Clerk to his Father, John Cook Esq. ; Isaac Pyke, Clerk 
to Sir Edward Clerk, Knight and Alderman. 

The other occupations are, for the most part, such as these : 









Steward to Lord 






Pastry Cook, 

Haberdasher of Hats, 










Case- maker, 













by the Author of the Christian's Daily Manual. 
Wyat, 1724, Shelf mark BM. 3434. cc. 6. 
1 See below, ch. xi. p. 341. 

London, W. Pearson and John 


Tinman, Apothecary, Canechair-maker, 

Carpenter, Vintner, Embroiderer, 

Schoolmaster, Caneman, Wire-drawer, 

Cook, Chandler, Stationer, 

Peruke-maker, Gunsmith, Vellumbinder, 

Joiner, Founder, Stonecutter, 

Meal-bolter, Turner, Woollen draper, 

Shoemaker, Sword-cutler, Tobacconist, 

Grocer, Butterman, Hosier. 

The names are arranged under three headings : Masters, Journey 
men, and Apprentices. 

Some twenty-four years later, in 1718 the occupations of the 
members of the Religious Society of St. Giles' Cripplegate were 
much the same : 

Joiner, Clockmaker, Ironmonger, 

Perfumer, Druggist, Plumber, 

Leather dresser, Distiller, Glover, 

Tailor, Silkman, Jeweller, 

Peruke-maker, Button seller, Cook, 

Barber, Needle-maker, Schoolmaster, 

Cooper, Turner, Plaisterer. 1 


The occupations show how strong the influence of the Church 
was with the less prosperous classes. The Church of England 
does not appear at the end of the seventeenth century to have 
been only the church of the rich. The list is some answer to the 
accusation that the Anglican system can only attract the edu 
cated and well-to-do. 

Later on, these Societies were also encouraged by Robert 

For if a few Persons, on no Account considerable, and whose Names 
are hardly known, being of the Church of England, by their frequently 
meeting together to pray, sing Psalms, and read the Holy Scriptures, and 
to edify one another by their Religious Conferences, have, thro' their 
united Endeavours, and the Grace of God, been enabled to do so much as 
they have done ; and to propagate and form themselves into such Societies, 
as those that are particularly called the Religious Societies have been able to 
do : If they have been so instrumental in promoting the daily Service 
among Churches, with the regular Administration of the Holy Sacrament 
of the Body and Blood of Christ every Lord's Day, and in some Churches 

1 See Transactions of the St. PauVs Ecclesiological Society, 1906, vol. vi. p. 34. 


also every Holy- Day in the Year ; as well as other excellent Designs con 
formable to the Practice of the Primitive Days, and to the Establish'd 
Constitution of this best reformed Church : And if they, but in their 
private Capacity, have been so serviceable to the Interest of Religion, and 
to the Honour of the Church, whereof they are Members . . . How much 
more easy would it be 'for Persons of Quality and Character ... to do 
abundantly more for Reviving the Piety and Charity of the Primitive 
Times ? l 

Nelson's sentences extend over three pages. Let us add a 
portion of another. He speaks with approval of 

the Setting up several Societies and Funds for the more frequent and 
devout Attendance on the Divine Service ; for the religious Observation 
of the Fasts and Festivals by Authority appointed ; for the more exact 
Conformity to the Rules of the Catholick Church, and of the Church of 
England in particular ; for suppressing Vice and Immorality ; for pro 
moting true Knowledge and Piety, and for proselyting to the established 
Doctrine and Constitution such as have erred and gone astray from it, for 
want of due Information and Instruction. 2 

The occupations of members of the Religious Society of St. Giles' 
Cripplegate in 1718 have just been given. It is said that its sole 
design was " to promote real holiness of heart and life ". We have 
the Rules, the observance of which would indicate an endeavour 
to lead a very pious and strict life. In the Rules of Dr. Hor- 
neck's Religious Society it is enjoined to each member to pray 
seven times each day, if possible. 3 At St. Giles', they were all 
bound to be members of the Church of England, and also to sub 
scribe a form declaring King George to have a just right to the 
crown. In 1717 Hearne tells us that there were to be no nonjurors 
in the Religious Societies. 4 The gaps in the signatures in the 
original document of 1718 look as if there had been some purging 
of the Society in consequence of this resolution. 

There is another Society which deserves particular notice from 
the developement which it underwent in later times, and of which 
the fears expressed that such Societies might degenerate into Sects 
were justified. It was formed in the University of Oxford. 

In the latter end of the year 1729, three or four serious young Gentlemen 
agreed to pass certain Evenings in every Week together, in order to read 

1 Robert Nelson, An Address to Persons of Quality and Estate, London, R. Smith, 
1715, p. 136. 

"ibid. p. 139. 3 gee below, Appendix to this chapter, Rule No. xviii. p. 309. 

4 Thomas Hearne, Collections, Oxford Historical Society, 1902, vol. vi. p. 63. 


and observe upon the Classicks, and on Sunday upon some Book of 
Devotion. 1 

Then it came to pass that the gaol was to be looked after ; 
prisoners under sentence of condemnation and debtors were visited, 
with the approval of the clergymen and bishop, and other philan 
thropic work was taken in hand. They also did their best to keep 
the following rules : 

The first is, That of Visiting and Relieving the Prisoners and the Sick, 
and giving away Bibles, Common-Prayer Books, and the Whole Duty of 
Man. . . . 

And, 2dly, in order to corroborate and strengthen these good Dis 
positions in themselves, they find great Comfort and Use, in taking the Op 
portunities which the Place gives them, as I intimated before, of a Weekly 

And, 3dly, They observe strictly the Fasts of the Church : And this 
has given Occasion to such as do not approve of them, abusively to call 
them Supererogation- Men? 

So far so good ; and the inevitable stimulus of misrepresentation 
and abuse was soon forthcoming. Attention was, it would seem, first 
called to this little Society, in no very friendly way, by a writer in Fog s 
Journal of Dec. 9, 1732. He gave to them the name of Methodists. 
Unluckily I cannot meet with a copy of Fog's Weekly Journal of this 
date ; so that I am compelled to fall back upon the extracts given by 
the writer of the tract with the title Oxford Methodists quoted above. 
The writer in Fogs Journal is said to compare this little Society to 
the Pietists in Saxony and Switzerland, and the Essenes among the 
Jews. " They avoid as much as is possible every Object that may 
affect them with any pleasant and grateful Sensation." 3 Further : 
" All social Entertainments and Diversions are disapprov'd of". 4 And 
" they not only exclude what is convenient ; , but what is absolutely 
necessary for the Support of Life ". 5 And on the same page he adds : 

They neglect and voluntarily afflict their Bodies, and practise several 
rigorous and superstitious Customs, which God never required of them. 
All Wednesdays and Fridays are strictly to be kept as Fasts, and Blood let 
once a Fortnight to keep down the Carnal Man. 

* # * 

And at Dinner, they sigh for the Time they are obliged to spend in 
Eating : Every Morning to rise at Four o'Clock, is suppos'd a Duty ; and to 
employ two Hours a Day in singing of Psalms and Hymns, ... is judg'd as 
an indispensable Duty requisite to the Being of a Christian. In short, they 

1 The Oxford Methodists, London, Roberts, 1733, p. 3. 

* ibid. p. 8. 8 ibid. p. 20. 4 ibid. p. 22. 5 ibid. p. 23. 


practise everything contrary to the Judgment of other Persons, and allow 
none to have any, but those of their own Sect, which ... is farthest from it. 1 

Wesley tells us that it was in April 1732 that Clayton, after 
wards the Chaplain of the Old Church, now the Cathedral, at Man 
chester joined them. He it was who suggested a careful keeping of 
the fast days of the Ancient Church. 2 To be sure, a second weekly 
fast was added to that of the Friday which the Church of England 
requires, namely, the fast on the Wednesday ; but as this was not 
set forth as a duty for all Churchmen, but only a voluntary fast 
for a Society, there appears to be no great harm done. And it was 
done elsewhere in the Church of England. 3 Clayton himself did not 
follow Wesley into schism, but remained steadfast to the Church of 
England, and served the Church at Manchester to the end. In 
politics he adhered to the Chevalier ; but in some way his conscience 
enabled him to take the oaths to King George while publicly praying, 
in the streets, for Charles Edward. 4 It is hard to understand of 
what stuff such conscience could be made. 

But the friendship between the Wesleys and Clayton was at an 
end in 1756, when Tyerman says : 

Charles Wesley attended the Collegiate church every day for a whole 
week, and every day stood close to Clayton and yet the latter would not even 
look at him. 5 

Not altogether unlike the Religious Societies founded at the 
end of the seventeenth century, and perhaps indebted to them for a 
certain number of ideas, was a society set up at Truro in 1754 by 
the Rev. Samuel Walker. He explained the end of the Society to 
the candidates for admission in these words : 

The design is threefold to glorify God to quicken and confirm 
ourselves in faith and holiness and to render us more useful among our 
neighbours. 6 

There were two sections in the Society : that composed of single 
men, from which all women were excluded ; and that of married 
men and their wives, and single women, from which all single men 

1 The Oxford Methodists, London, Roberts, 1733, p. 24. 

2 F. R. Raines and F. Renaud, The fellows of the Collegiate Church of Manchester, 
Chetham Society, 1891, part ii. p. 250. 

3 See ch. vii. p. 214. 4 See also ch. vi. p. 180. 

5 L. Tyerman, The Oxford Methodists, Hodder and Stoughton, 1873, p. 56. 

6 Edwin Sidney, The Life, Ministry, and Selections from the Remains of the Rev. 
Samuel Walker, London, Baldwin and Cradock, 1835, p. 53. 


were excluded. Into Dr. Horneck's Societies only men were ad 
mitted. They of Truro met once a week in the evening, and went 
home at nine o'clock. The director alone had the power of expel 
ling members, and Mr. Walker kept in his own hands the control 
of the Societies and (( prevented all improper trespass on his pro 
vince " ; 1 " No one is to be talking there but myself" he said. 2 

Mr. Walker reserved to himself the performance of the devo 
tional exercises. These, it would seem, have borrowed something 
from the prayers contained in Woodward, spoken of above : the six 
appropriate sentences of Scripture are from Woodward ; the three 
collects are not found in Woodward, but the confession, the Lord's 
prayer, and that beginning as the Collect for Ash Wednesday does, 
may be suggested by Woodward. The " psalm," It is very meet 
right, etc. and the Grace of our Lord at the end are in Woodward. 3 

There were no stewards, as in the London Societies, that were 
permitted to lead the prayers of their fellows. On the contrary, 
Mr. Walker writes : 

Laymen officiating in the presence of their authorized minister, and 
endeavouring to rival or eclipse him in prayer ; women forgetting the 
modesty of their sex, and the propriety of their situation, in the enthusiastic 
utterance of feelings real or imaginary ; youths put forward because of a 
gift, to the destruction of all humility ; ignorant and illiterate persons per 
mitted to give vent to unintelligible rhapsodies, exhibit violations of 
decency and order. 4 

A high sacerdotal tone is far more apparent in the rules of Truro 
than in the rules of London. 

In looking over the Truro rules it may be noticed that there is 
no insistence on the monthly communion, as there is in Dr. Hor 
neck's, Dr. Woodward's, and at St. Giles' Cripplegate. The fourth 
rule is borrowed in the opening sentence from Dr. Woodward's 
second rule : Mr. Walker's fourth rule ends with " That none be 
admitted members, but such as are inhabitants here and communi 
cants, and that no person at any time be introduced, but at the re 
quest of the director," 5 that is, says the note, Mr. Walker. This 
as far as I can see is the only mention in all the rules of the Eucha 
rist, the great bond of a Society, and the essential duty of every 

Nor is there that recommendation of frequent attendance at the 

1 Edwin Sidney, The Life, Ministry, and Selections from the Remains of the Rev. 
Samuel Walker, London, Baldwin and Cradock, 1835, p. 59. 

*ibid. p. 63. ibid. p. 60. 4 ibid.p.6i. 5 ibid. p. 57. 


Church Service that we find in the London rules. Altogether the 
Truro rules are on a lower plane as the rules of a Church Society 
than those of London, though more strongly sacerdotal. 

The Society which was founded in 1800 by William Stevens 
under the name of " Nobody's Friends " had in view no particular 
end for the benefit of the Church, beyond bringing together so as 
to know one another, men of sound " principles of Religion and 
Polity 'V With this view they dined together three times a year. 


It may be well to mention here another and different kind 
of Society, Societies for the Reformation of Manners. Edward 
Stephens, whose head was always full of whims and fancies, tells 
us that in 1691 he began to think of another kind of society, altoge 
ther different from those established by Dr. Horneck. It may be 
doubted if Dr. Horneck would have allied himself with Stephens' 
new plans had the doctor lived. Woodward in his fourth chapter 
tells us something of their beginnings. He says : " Four or five 
gentlemen of the Church of England" met together and determined 
to put into execution the laws against Vice and Impieties. 

These had had a legal education, and so in some way we are 
directed towards Edward Stephens, who had left the bar to take 
orders in the Church of England, and it may possibly be that 
Stephens was one of these four or five. He was a man of but 
small judgement, and little that was sane and sober could be looked 
for at his hands. Stephens' Society was a new Society ; and Wood 
ward also in the same chapter tells us what should, it seems, be very 
particularly noticed : that the Religious Societies must be carefully 
distinguished from the Societies for the Reformation of Manners. 

In this number of the Societies for Reformation here given, I do not in 
clude any of the Forty Religious Societies before mentioned. For tho' they 
all agree in the Promotion of Virtue, and Opposition to Vice, yet their 
first and more direct Design of Association, seems to be distinguished 
thus : In that the Societies for Reformation bent their utmost Endeavours 
from the first to suppress publick Vice ; whilst the Religious Societies endea- 
vour'd chiefly to promote a due sense of Religion in their own Breasts, tho' 
they have since been eminently instrumental in the publick Reformation. 2 

1 James Allan Park, Memoirs of the late William Stevens, Esq. ed. by Dr. Chr. 
Wordsworth, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, Rivington, 1859, Preface, p. iv. See also 
The Club of "Nobody's Friends," privately printed, 1902, vol. ii. p. 161. 

2 Woodward, p, 64. 


Thus a new kind of Society came into existence ; the old Societies 
were spiritual and charitable agencies ; the new were to be agres- 
sive and often harmful instruments for attacks upon open and 
barefaced breaches of morality. Such attacks require the utmost 
prudence and foresight. And it may be feared that both these 
gifts were often wanting in the agents employed by the Societies for 
the Reformation of Manners. It is no matter for surprise that they 
quickly became decadent. So that as early as 1702, their tenden 
cies had been detected. 

Are not we in a fair way to see the Nation Reform'd, when a parcel of 
Beggarly Informers undertake the Pious Work ? 

King James the Second might as soon have Enslav'd his Protestant 
Subjects with a Popish Army, as our late Societies for Reformation of Man 
ners, mend the Nation. These New Apostles Are for the most part, a set 
of Scoundrels, who are Maintained by Lying, serve God for unrighteous 
Gain. 1 

In 1709 Swift is much more friendly, yet he speaks of them 

Religious societies, though begun with excellent intention, and by 
persons of true piety, are said, I know not whether truly or not, to have 
dwindled into factious clubs, and grown a trade to enrich little knavish 
informers of the meanest rank, such as common constables, and broken 
shopkeepers. 2 

Swift has not drawn a distinction between the Religious Societies, 
and the Societies for the Reformation of Manners. 

But the history of the Societies for the Reformation of Man 
ners has so recently and so fully been set forth by the Rev. Garnet 
V. Portus 3 that there is no great need to pursue their history in 
this work. They seem to have dwindled, notwithstanding strong 
support from the Bishops, and the last reference to them that I 
find is one in 1763, where they violently attacked the keeper of a 
public house in Chancery Lane and were fined 300 in damages 
for their act.* 

Nor, if the following resolutions bear upon a society for the re 
formation of manners, does their behaviour in church seem to have 
been all that it should be. 

1 [Abel Boyer,] The English Theophrastus, London, Turner and Chantry, 1702, p. 


2 Jonathan Swift, A Project for the Advancement of Religion, in Works, ed. Wal 
ter Scott, Edinburgh, 1814, vol. viii. p. 221. 

3 Garnet V. Portus, Caritas Anglicana, Mowbray, 1912. 

4 Annual Register, 1763, Chronicle, Feb. 23, p. 57. 

S.P.C.K. AND S.P.G. 33 

At a vestry meeting of St. Alban's Wood Street held on 
Wednesday, May 14, 1760, the question was put: 

Whether the Sunday morning Society frequenting this Church shall 
be permitted to continue for one year longer on their contributing and 
paying such sum towards the Repairs of the Church ... or intirely dis 
missed the use of the Church ? 

It was ordered 

That the said Society have immediate notice to provide themselves 
with a Church elsewhere on or before Christmas next untill which time 
they may continue at this Church they keeping the Church clean and 
decent and behaving so as not to occasion any complaints against them. 1 

The vestry repeated this order on July 2, 1 760. 

In the New Whole Duty of Man there is " a prayer for the 
Religious Societies". The Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel is named and also the societies " for Christian conference 
and works of piety " as well as for those " for putting the laws in 
execution against the vitious and profane ". 2 


Three great Church Societies were founded during our period ; 
the S.P.C.K., the S.P.G. and the National Society for educating 
children in the principles of the Church of England. First to come 
into life was the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, 
founded on March 8, 1699 by four laymen and one clergyman. Its 
history has been written of late, on the occasion of its second 
hundredth anniversary, so that reference to this book may be 
enough for present purposes. 3 

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts 
was incorporated on June 16 in the year 1701. Its first beginnings 
were encouraged by the sister Society, the Society for promoting 
Christian Knowledge, and thus for two hundred years these two 
great Societies have been working together. 4 

The National Society for promoting the Education of the Poor 
in the Principles of the Established Church was founded on October 
16, 1811. On May 19, 1812 it had over 15,000 at its bankers, 5 

1 Guildhall Library, London, 1264, i. pp. 287 and 305. 

2 The prayer continues in an edition printed by J. McGowan in 1819, p. 476. 

3 W. O. B. Allen and Edmund McClure, Two Hundred Years : the history of the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1698-1898, London, S.P.C.K. 1898. 

4 The Spiritual Expansion of the Empire, S.P.G. 1900. 

5 First Annual Report of the National Society , London, 1812, p. 62. 


and subscribers whose names extend over eighty octavo pages of 
the Report. 

The Society for promoting the Enlargement and Building of 
Churches and Chapels was founded in 1818 and incorporated by 
Act of Parliament in 1828. Its income in 1832 was over 17,000 
and Free Sittings even then were a prominent feature in the 
Society's grants. 1 

Thus the Societies founded in our period continue to this day 
the work for which they were set up. Had our period been utterly 
apathetic in its duty towards God and its neighbour, it could 
hardly have established these great Church Societies and then main 
tained them in the flourishing state that they are found in at the 
end of the first third of the nineteenth century. 


In the nineteenth century much complaint was made of the 
setting up of theological colleges. It can easily be understood why 
the average privy-councillor, or member of parliament, business, 
University, or professional man should object to a well-trained par 
son or curate. Such clergymen are able to set him right upon 
subjects which he has not studied, yet upon which he loves to dog 
matise in the superior liberal manner. " The man of facts is a bore," 
he would say : " he has such a knack of upsetting you." Yet why 
a bishop should be on the side of ignorance is not at all clear. It 
might have been thought that an elementary course of instruction 
in divinity might have been of some use to the candidate for orders. 
Be this as it may, all that is now to be remarked is that the idea of 
a special preparation for men intending to apply for holy orders was 
not unknown in our period. 

Gilbert Burnet, who has been called the founder of the Lati- 
tudinarian school in the Church of England, has left a note behind 
him in which he expresses a wish to be able to counteract the 
narrowing effects of a University education. It might be that he 
foresaw the time when the Bishops will refuse to ordain a man who 
has gone through the contracting influence of an English Uni 

I thought the greatest prejudice the Church was under was from the 
ill education of the Clergy In the Vniversities they for most part lost the 

1 Incorporated Society for promoting the Enlargement, etc. Annual Report, May 21, 
1832, London, Clay, 1832, p. 16. 


learning they brought with them from Schools and learned so very little 
in them that too commonly they came from them lesse knowing than when 
they went to them especially the servitors who if they had not a very good 
capacity and were very well disposed of themselves were generally neg 
lected by their Tutors. They likewise learned the airs of Vanity and 
Insolence at the Vniversities so that I resolved to have a nursery at Salis 
bury of students in Divinity who should follow their studies and Devotions 
till I could provide them. I allowed them 30 lib - a piece and during my 
stay at Salisbury I ordered them to come to me once a day and then I 
answered such difficulties as occurred to them in their studies and enter 
tained them with some discourse either on the Speculative or Practicall 
part of Divinity or some branch of the Pastorall care. This lasted an 
hour. And thus I hoped to have formed some to have served to good 
purpose in the Church some of these have answered my expectation to 
the full and continue still labouring in the Gospell. But they were not all 
equally well chosen this was considered as a present setlement that drew a 
better one after it so I was prevailed on by importunity to receive some 
who did not answer expectation. Those at Oxford looked on this as a 
publike affront to them and to their way of Education so that they railed 
at me not only in secret but in their Acts unmercifully for it. 1 

The same idea entered the mind of Burnet's very opposite, 
Denys Granville, Dean of Durham. Sir George Wheler in a letter 
to Mr. Bemont, dated August 19, 1693, speaks of the Dean's 

purpose to make the Cathedral the great seminary of young Divines for the 
Diocesse, and to this end to invite ingenuous young men to be Minor 
Canons, he got this order past in Chapter, that what preferments the 
Chapter had to dispose of, the Minor Canons according to their seniority, 
meritts, and deserts should have the option before any other; and to 
further them in their studies, did intend them the use of the College 
library; and that they might continue a regular and Collegiate life, had 
often thoughts of getting them lodgings erected in the Colledge. 2 

Speaking of the two Universities and their foundations in divinity 
Robert Nelson says it is a thing to be wished 

that we had also some of these Foundations entirely set apart for the 
forming of such as are Candidates for Holy Orders ; where they might be 
fully instructed in all that knowledge which that Holy Institution requires, 
and in all those Duties which are peculiarly incumbent upon a Parochial 

Where Lectures might be daily read, which in a certain Course of Time 
should include a perfect Scheme of Divinity ; where all peculiar Cases of 
Conscience might be clearly stated, and such general Rules laid down, as 

1 MS. Bodl. Add. D. 24. fo. 213. Edited also by Miss H. C. Foxcroft, A supple 
ment to Burnet's History of my own time, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1902, p. 500. 

2 Robert Surtees, The history . . . of Durham, London, Nichols, 1816, vol. i. 

P- 175- 



might be able to assist them in giving Satisfaction to all those that repair to 
them for Advice in difficult Matters. 

Where they might receive right Notions of all those Spiritual Rights 
which are appropriated to the Priesthood, and which are not in the Power 
of the greatest secular Person either to convey or abolish ; and yet are of 
such great Importance that some of them are not only necessary to the well 
being but to the very Being of the Church. 

Where they might be taught to perform all the Publick Offices of Re 
ligion with a becoming Gravity and Devotion, and with all that Advantage 
of Elocution, which is aptest to secure Attention, and beget devout Af 
fections in the Congregation. 

Where they might particularly be directed, how to receive clinical Con 
fessions, how to make their Applications to Persons in Times of Sickness, 
and have such a Method formed to guide their Addresses of that Nature, 
that they might never be at a Loss when they are called upon to assist sick 
and dying Persons. 

Where they might be instructed in the Art of Preaching ; whereby I 
mean not only the best Method in composing their Sermons, but all those 
decent Gestures and graceful Deportment, the Influence whereof all Hearers 
can easier feel than express. 

And where they might have such judicious Rules given them for prose 
cuting their Theological Studies as would be of great Use to them in their 
future Conduct. 1 

Something of the kind that Robert Nelson wished for, had already 
been set up by the good Bishop of Man, Dr. Thomas Wilson. 

4. Setting up Colleges, or Seminaries for the Candidates of Holy Orders ; 
and particularly for the Mission into America, and other Remote Parts. 

* * * 

And if the Palaces of Bishops might become again, as heretofore, the 
Schools of Candidates for the Holy Ministry, how then would Religion in 
general, and our Church in particular, flourish ? . . . 

However a small seminary of this kind hath within these few years been 
set up in the Isle of Man, under the Direction of the good Bishop thereof 
[i.e. Thomas Wilson]. 2 

This seminary continued in the days of Dr. Mark Hildesley, his 
immediate successor in the see of Sodor and Man, of whom his 
biographer says : 

There was one business in particular, concerning which he always felt 
himself very anxious ; namely, the improvement of the academical scholars, 
or young men of the island, designed for the ministry in the Church of 
Mann. They were ordered constantly to attend him once a month at 

1 Robert Nelson, The Life of Dr. George Bull, London, Richard Smith, 1713, p. 19. 
For the convenience of the reader the passage has been broken up into shorter paragraphs. 

2 Robert Nelson, An Address to Persons of Quality and Estate, London, 1715, 
Appen. p. 122. 


Bishop's Court, where he personally examined them in the Classicks, the 
Greek Testament, and the Thirty-nine Articles ; then had them to read over 
distinctly some portion of the Holy Scriptures, in order to qualify them for 
reading in publick. 1 

Dr. Pococke, the Bishop of Meath, found this seminary at work in 
1750. On June 27 he writes: 

The young men who are educated at the academy at Castleton for the 
ministry, are frequently taken in to the bishop's house to be under his eye, 
and study divinity for two or three years before they go into Orders, and 
the example, conversation, and instructions of such a prelate must be of 
great advantage to them. 2 

Dr. George Berkeley, before he was Bishop of Cloyne, spent 
some four years in London endeavouring to secure a charter for a 
Theological College in the Bermudas. In 1725 he published in 
London through H. Woodfall his Proposal for a College in Bermuda. 

A College or Seminary in those parts is very much wanted : and there 
fore the providing such a Seminary is earnestly proposed and recommended 
to all those who have it in their power to contribute to so good a work. 
By this, two ends would be obtained : 

First, the youth of our English Plantations might be themselves fitted 
for the ministry. 

* * * 

Secondly, the children of savage Americans, b?ought up in such a 
Seminary, and well instructed in religion and learning, might make the ablest 
and properest missionaries for spreading the gospel among their countrymen. 3 

A charter was granted by King George the Second in 1725 
for the founding of a College by the name of St. Paul's College in 
Bermuda. The President and Fellows were to have the power of 
conferring Degrees in all Faculties. 4 

The idea of special professional training is so reasonable and 
promises to be so fruitful that it is somewhat astonishing that with 
these precedents it was left to the nineteenth century to put the 
conception into practice. The other two learned professions, those 
of the lawyer, and the physician, have now to undergo highly special 
ised training after leaving the University. Why should the clergy 
man have such a specially disadvantageous privilege thrust upon him ? 

1 Memoirs of Mark Hildesley, D.D. Lord Bishop of So dor and Mann, ed. by the 
Rev. Weeden Butler, London, J. Nichols, 1799, p. 81. 

2 The travels through England of Dr. Richard Pococke, ed. by J. J. Cartwright, 
Camden Society, 1888, vol. i. p. 2. 

3 The Works of George Berkeley, ed. by A. C. Fraser, Oxford, 1901, vol. iv. p. 347. 

4 ibid. p. 362. 




[The Life of the Reverend Anthony Horneck, by Richard [Kidder] Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, London, Aylmer, 1698, p. 13.] 

I. That all that entered into such a society should resolve upon an holy 
and serious Life. 

II. That no person shall be admitted into this Society till he arrive 
at the age of Sixteen, and hath been first confirmed by the Bishop, and 
solemnly taken on himself his Baptismal Vow. 

III. That they chuse a Minister of the Church of England to direct 

IV. That they shall not be allowed in their meetings to discourse of 
any controverted point of Divinity. 

V. Neither shall they discourse of the Government of Church or 

VI. That in their meetings they use no Prayers but those of the Church, 
such as the Litany and Collects, and other prescribed Prayers ; but still 
they shall not use any that peculiarly belong to the Minister, as the Absolu 

VII. That the Minister whom they chuse shall direct what practical 
Divinity shall be read at these meetings. 

VIII. That they may have liberty, after Prayer and Reading, to sing 
a Psalm. 

IX. That after all is done, if there be time left, they may discourse 
each other about their spiritual concerns ; but this shall not be a standing 
Exercise, which any shall be obliged to attend unto. 

X. That one day in the Week be appointed for this meeting, for such 
as cannot come on the Lord's Day, and that he that absents himself with 
out cause shall pay three Pence to the Box. 

XI. Every time they meet, every one shall give six Pence to the Box. 

XII. That on a certain day in the year, viz. Whitsun- Tuesday, two 
Stewards shall be chosen, and a moderate Dinner provided, and a Sermon 
preached, and the Money distributed (necessary Charges deducted) to the 

XIII. A Book shall be bought, in which these Orders shall be written. 



XIV. None shall be admitted into this Society without the consent of 
the Minister who presides over it ; and no Apprentice shall be capable of 
being chosen. 

XV. That if any Case of Conscience arise, it shall be brought before 
the Minister. 

XVI. If any Member think fit to leave the Society, he shall pay five 
Shillings to the Stock. 

XVII. The major part of the Society to conclude the rest. 

XVIII. The following Rules are more especially to be commended to 
the Members of this Society, viz. 

To love one another : 

When reviled, not to revile again : 

To speak evil of no man : 

To wrong no man : 

To pray, if possible, seven times a day : 

To keep close to the Church of England : 

To transact all things peaceably and gently : 

To be helpfull to each other : 

To use themselves to holy Thoughts in their coming in and going out : 

To examine themselves every night : 

To give every one their due : 

To obey Superiors both Spiritual and Temporal. 


[By the kindness of the Rev. Albert Barff, Vicar of St. Giles' Cripple- 
gate, and Prebendary of St. Paul's, I am enabled to give extracts from a 
manuscript belonging to St. Giles'. It is a book of paper, 16 by 6-J inches, 
bound in limp vellum with two clasps. 

The Orders and Rules have been begun at one end of the book ; and 
accounts begin at the other. The Orders and Rules are written on the 
recto only, and the same hand seems to have been employed from p. i to 
the end of p. 20, where several hands begin to write the names of members.] 

/ Orders and Rules [p. i. 

To be Observed by all the Members of the Society. 

1. That the Sole design of this Society, being to promote Real Holiness 
of heart and Life ; it is Absolutely necessary, that the Persons who enter 
into it do seriously Resolve to apply themselves in good earnest to all means 
proper to make them wise unto Salvation. 

2. That the Members of this Society shall meet together one Evening 
in the week at a Convenient place in order to Encourage each other in 
practical Holiness : by discoursing on Spiritual subjects and reading God's 
Holy word and to pray to Almighty God and praise his name together. 


3. That at such meetings there be no dispute about controversial 
points State Affairs or the concerns of trade and worldly things ; but the 
whole bent of the Discourse, be to the Glory of God : and to Edifie one 
another in Love. 

4. That it be left to every Persons discretion to contribute at every 
weekly meeting what he thinks fit towards a Publick Stock for maintaining 
a Sermon and to defray other /necessary charges and the money thus [p. 3. 
collect shall be kept by the Stewards (who shall be chose by majority of 
voices every half year) to be disposed of by the Major part of the Society 
for the uses abovementioned, and the said Stewards shall keep a faithfull 
Register of what is thus collected, and Distributed to be perused by any 
Member of the Society at Request. 

5. That every Member shall clear his part in the Roll once in two 
months : the charge of the Sermon occurring once in that time. 

6. That at the time of choosing new Stewards there shall be likewise 
chose, [(]by the new Stewards) Six Collectors to serve for the following 
half year and if any of these Collectors so chosen neglect to come or pro 
vide one to serve in their place they shall forfeit six pence for every such 

7. That if any Member Absent himself three Sunday nights together 
he shall forfeit twopence and shall be judged Disaffected to the Society ; 
without giving a Satisfactory account to the Stewards. 

8. That one or both of the Stewards shall not fail upon the forfeit of 
six pence before the next time of meeting to visit and enquire into the 
reasons of such members absence and desire him to be more frequent in 
Meeting his brethren for each others mutual advantage and if after such 
visit he continues to absent himself four nights more let him be Excluded. 

9. That if the Stewards neglect to gather in the forfeits they shall be 
liable to pay the same themselves. 

/io. That none shall be admitted into this Society without giving [p. 5. 
due notice thereof to the Stewards who shall acquaint the whole Society 
therewith and after due Enquiry into their Religious purposes and manner 
of life they may be admitted to subscribe their names. 

11. That every one that is so admitted a member of this Society shall with 
the subscribing of his name to the Orders enter down his Profession and also 
the place of his abode and shall if he at any time remove acquaint the 
Stewards therewith. 

12. That every Member in this Society look as near as he can after 
each others conversation and if they find any that walks disorderly let him 
Admonish him privately by himself and if it prove inefectual let him be 
reprov'd before one or two more and if this prove inefectual also, let him 
be reprov'd before the whole Society and if this reclaims him not let him 
be Excluded. 


13. That every Person concern'd in this Society do wholly decline all 
Ale-House Games ; and shun all unnecessary resort to such Houses, and 
Taverns and wholly to avoid Play-Houses. 

Rules. 14. That the respective members of this Society shall heartily 
endeavour through God's Grace. 

Rule i. To be just in all their Dealings even to an Exemplary Strict 

2. To pray many times every day. 

3. To partake of the Lord's Supper once a month at least if not 

prevented by a Reasonable impediment. 

4. To practice the profoundest Meekness and Humility. 

5. To watch against Censuring others. 

6. To accustome themselves to Holy thoughts/In all Places, [p. 7. 

7. To take care of their words and give not way to foolish Jest 


8. To be very modest and Decent in Apparel. 

9. To be helpful to one another. 

10. To shun all foreseen Occasions of evil as evil company known 

Temptations etc. 

11. To think often of the different estates of the Glorified and 

Damned ; in the unchangeable eternity to which we are 

12. To examine themselves every night what good or evil they 

have done the day past. 

13. To keep a private fast once a month especially near our ap 

proach to the Lords-Table if we may with convenience. 

14. To pray for the whole Society in our private prayers. 

15. To read good books and especially the Holy Bible and 

herein particularly Mat. 5. 6. and 7. Chap. Luke 15. and 
1 6 Chapters. Romans 12. 13. Ephes. 5. 6. Chaprs. i. 
Thess. 5. Chapter. Rev. i. 2. 3. 21. 

And in the Old Testament. 

Lev. 26 Chapter. Deu. 28 Chapter. Isai. 53 Chapter. 
Ezek. 36 Chapters. 

1 6. To shun all manner of affectation and Morossness f and to be 

of a Civil and obligeing Deportment to all men. 

17. To be continually mindfull of the great obligation of this Special 

profession of Religion, and to walk so Circumspectly that 
none may be offended or discouraged from this by what 
they see in them nor Occation ) given to any to speak 
reproachfully in it. 

15. That every member be ready to do what upon consulting with 
each other shall be taught adviseable towards the punishment of publick 


prophaness but not out of any base end as popular Applause or malice to 
any man but out of pure Love to God and Charity to men's Souls. 

/i 6. That each member shall encourage the Catechising of [p. 9. 
young and Ignorant Persons in their respective Families, according to their 
Stations and abilities and shall Observe all manner of Religious Family 

17. That the Major part of the Society shall have power to make a 
new order to bind the whole when need requires if it be approved of by a 
pious and learned Minister of the church of England ; (nominated by the 
whole Society). 

1 8. That upon every second Sunday in the month these Orders shall 
be read over by one of the Stewards and that with so much Distinction and 
Deliberation that each member may have time to Examine himself by them 
or to speak his mind in any thing relating to them and what time remains 
shall be spent in discoursing upon that blessed Sacrament, that Sunday 
following being for our meeting at St. Lawrances Church in the morning 
at six of the Clock to Receive the same. 

19. That the Members of this Society meet -every Lords day precisely 
at five a Clock and in the Afternoon ; and if both Stewards be wanting 
they shall forfeit two pence each. 

20. That at every Sundays meeting the Stewards shall propose Sub 
jects propor f to be discours'd upon the Sunday night next ensuing that 
each member may have time to consider and observe something from the 

21. That three of the members of this Society be chosen by the 
majority of voices once a year to serve as Trustees for the Charity 

22. That every Person that is admitted a member of this Society shall 
with the first opportunity after his having these Orders Read over/[p. n. 
to him hereunto Subscribe his name as a testimony of his approbation and 
Resolution, [(] thro ugh the Assistance of God) to live up to them. 

23. It is likewise Ordered by this Society that none shall be admitted 
to this Society, without they receive the Sacrament of the Church of England. 

24. It is likewise Ordered by this Society that the Monthly Collection 
at Cripplegate- Church for the Charity School shall be paid into the Trea 
surer or the Trustees within one day upon the forfeiture of five Shillings. 

25. It is likewise Ordered by this Society that every member shall con 
tribute towards the feast on Easter monday whether he comes or not. 

26. It is likewise ordered by this Society that no person shall be ad 
mitted in the Room during the time of our meeting without giving due 
notice to ; and Approbation of the Stewards. 

27. It is likewise ordered by this Society that if any Person be duly 
chose to serve as Steward and shall refuse the same, [he] shall forfeit five 


28. It is likewise Ordered by this Society that the Prayers Recom 
mended by the Twelve Stewards and approved of by the Lord Bishop of 
London, with may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ etc shall be used by 
this Society. 


/We whose names are hereunto Subscribed Do Severally declare [p. 15. 
that we are fully Satisfied of the Just Right That our Sovereign Lord 
King George Hath to the Crown of these Realms and that we will En 
deavour by the Grace of God to behave our Selves as becomes those who 
are well affected to his said Majesty and Govermentf . 

1. 16. 

2. 17. John Nevill. 

3. Alexander ^ Duffys' Mark. 18. 

4. 19- 

5. 20. Joel Pugh. 

6. 21. Robert Vokins. 

7. 22. Robert Peirson. 

8. Samuell Hathway. 24. John Rivers. 

9. Jonathan ffentum. 25. 

10. 26. 

11. John Reynolds. 27. Samuell Maynard. 

12. 28. John Kent. 

13. 29. Richard Pearce. 

14. 30. George Pearce. 

i5- 3i. 

/The names of each Member with his place of abode. [p. 19. 

[Joiner, Perfumer, Leatherdresser, Taylor, Perukemaker, Barber, 
Cooper, Taylor, Shoemaker, Clockmaker, Druggist, Distiller, Silkman, 
Buttonseller, Needlemaker, Turner, Ironmonger, Perukemaker, Plummer, 
Glover, Jeweller, Taylor, Cook, Shoemaker, Schoolmaster, Plaisterer, are 
the professions of those members, written first in one hand ; those that 
follow are not in the same clerkly hand, but in different hands.] 

[One of the features of the St. Giles' Society was the annual feast on 
Easter Monday, mentioned in Rule 25. The Bills of fare at this entertain 
ment are given in the book with the Rules, down to 1762. The Bill of fare for 
this year has been printed as a specimen of a modest English public dinner at 
this date. Wine, punch, and " bumbo," a drink " composed of rum, sugar, 
water, and nutmeg," appear among the liquors. It would seem that 
churchmen had not yet discovered that in order to be a Christian you 
must become a teetotaller. This return to an ancient heresy was reserved 
for the decadence of ourown age. The Stewards Book begins on October 
14, 1722, and ends on April 15, 1762.] 


A Bill of Fare in the Stewardship of Mr. John Jennings, Mr. John 
Jones, Mr. Francis Gilding, and Mr. Jephthah Harris, April i5th, 1762. 

6 Fillets Veal, 65 Ib. at 6d. - 1126 

4 Hams, 72 Ib. at 6d. - i 16 o 

6 Pidgeon Pyes - 140 

6 Marrow Puddings - 140 

Stewards etc. - 066 

Bread and Beer 70 o n 8 

Wine 3 14 o 

Punch 140 

Bumbo - 040 

Porter and Brown Stout 012 o 

Tobacco 030 

Oranges Lemons and Sugar - 036 

Dressing Veal - 090 

Do. Hams - 080 

Force Meat for Veal 030 

Greens Butter, etc. - 060 

Butter Cheese and Redishes 084 

Dressing Stewards Dinner - o i 6 

Servants - - - - - - o^o 

Received 7 7 half Crowns - 

There were 70 Gentlemen Dine< 



IN dealing with the practice of praying for the faithful departed 
during our period it may be well to consider the subject under two 
heads : 

1. Popular use, shown in exclamations, epitaphs, and books of 

2. In the opinions of pious writers of repute. 

To deal first with what is said by writers describing the popular 
customs of their own times. 

When a conversation is described in which a deceased person is 
spoken of, it is quite usual throughout the first half of our period to 
find such an expression as " God rest his soul " added as an excla 
mation. It is to be found in at least six such instances, among 
the authors of the time. 1 Also much later, a clergyman yet living 
who had charge of the parish of West Farleigh, Kent, in 1863 tells 
me that the very old people used, in those days, when speaking of 
the departed, to add the ejaculation "God rest his soul". 

I cannot help thinking that this evidence is some indication of 
the frame of mind of the generality of the people. The expression, 
it seems, would not so often be put into the mouths of the people 
by writers attempting to represent the way of speaking then in 
vogue, without some good ground for it. 

1 Mrs. Susannah Centlivre, The man's bewitch' d, Act iii. Works , London, 1761, vol. 
iii. p. 106. 

Jonathan Swift, Complete Collection of genteel . . . Conversation ; in Works, Scott's 
ed. Edinb. 1814, vol. xi. p. 416. 

Colley Cibber, Love's last Shift, Act i. Dramatic Works, London, 1760, vol. i. p. 14. 

T. Smollett, Peregrine Pickle, ch. ii. 1904, Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 13. The Adven 
tures of Sir Launcelot Greaves, ch. iv. Hutchinson, 1905, p. 48. 

S. Richardson, Clarissa Harlowe, Letter xxxii. Tauchnitz, vol. i. p. 149, and again 
Letter xliv. in vol. ii. p. 152. 

H. Fielding, Joseph Andrews, Book II. ch. iii. (Works, 1871, v. 118). 



Aubrey uses a sort of ejaculatory prayer for the dead in writing, 
for of Major John Graunt who died on Easter Even, 1674 ne sets 

He was my honoured and worthy friend cujus animae propitietur 
Deus, Amen. 1 

and again of another friend, George Johnson, of whom after record 
ing his decease in 1683, ne writes : 
cujus animae propitietur Deus. 2 

To consider next the numerous epitaphs in which a prayer is 
offered for the peace or rest of the departed soul, or the Almighty 
is prayed to be merciful to it : some such have been collected to 
gether by Dr. F. G. Lee, who has been able, he says, to discover 
such an inscription for every decade after the Reformation. 3 

But at once it is seen that a good deal of caution is here needed 
before we can ascribe all these epitaphs to members of the Church 
of England. A large number are for certain taken from the graves 
of Roman Catholics ; and information in many is wanting as to the 
persuasion of those whom the inscriptions commemorate. A few 
of these epitaphs are here given where it seems possible to deter 
mine that they commemorate a member of the Church of England, 4 
dying within our period. 

This inscription is said to be in Blackmore Priory Church, 
Essex : 

Here lyeth the body of Simon Lynch, Rector of Runwell . . . unto 
whom the Lord be merciful. Who died the i6th June 1660, aged 60 
years. 5 

At Shermanbury, Sussex, there is said to be a monument 

To the memory of the truly Revd. John Bear, D.D. Rector of this 
parish. . . . 

And of Mary, his beloved wife, who died April 23, 1755, a g d 80 years. 

1 Brief Lives, chiefly of Contemporaries, set down by John Aubrey, between the 
years 1669 and 1696, ed. Andrew Clark, Oxford, 1898, vol. i. p. 273. 

a ibid. vol. ii. p. 9. 

3 F. G. Lee, The Christian Doctrine of Prayer for the Departed, London, Strahan, 
1872, Appendix xi. 

4 A caution more than usually necessary should be exercised in drawing any con 
clusion from the inscriptions recorded in F. T. Cansick's painstaking volumes of Col 
lection of Curious and Interesting Epitaphs, published by J. Russell Smith, '1869 and 
1872. For the friends of deceased Roman Catholics often chose the churchyard of 
St. Pancras for the burial of their relatives. The same caution is needed at Bath 
Abbey, where many Irish visitors have monuments. 

5 F. G. Lee, op. cit. p. 318. 


The Lord grant unto them that they 
May find mercy in the Lord in that Day. 
This monument was erected by her son, John Burton, D.D., I767. 1 

In the will of Dr. John Cosin, Bishop of Durham, who died in 
1671, he desires that the inscription over his sepulchre may end thus : 

Hie sepultus est expectans felicem corporis sui resurrectionem ac 
vitam in coelis aeternam. 

Requiescat in pace. 2 

Thorndike directed in his will that the final words of the in 
scription on his grave should be : 

Tu, Lector, requiem ej et beatam in Christo Resurrectionem precare. 3 

It is said that this direction was never carried out. 

But the inscription on the tomb of Dr. Isaac Barrow, Bishop 
of St. Asaph, was as follows : 

Exuviae Isaaci Sancti Asaphensis episcopi 

in manum Domini Depositae 

In spem Laetae Resurrectionis 

per sola Christi merita 

Vos transiuntes in Domum Domini 

Domum Orationis 
Orate pro Conservo vestro 
Ut inveniam Misericordiam 
In Die Domini. 4 

The famous Dr. Thomas Tanner, when Chancellor of Norwich, 
wrote on April 2, 1700 a note to Dr. Charlett of Oxford about a 
will lately brought into his Office, containing a direction from a 
Clergyman to this effect : 

Corpus committo Ecclesiae de Thrigby lapide superimposito cum hoc 

Orate ut requiescat anima Edvardi Warnes Clerici in pace. 5 

The testator gives his reasons for the epitaph : that the Church 
of England desires to follow antiquity; that it was a " bestial in 
difference" not to pray for the departed ; it was not forbidden, at 
least in terms, in the Articles. 

1 F. G. Lee, op. cit., p. 329. 

2 The correspondence of John Cosin, Surtees Society, vol. Iv. 1872, Part ii. p. 294. 

3 The Theological Works of Herbert Thorndike, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1856, vol. vi. 

P- 143- 

* Bodleian Library, Wood, D. 4, fo. 376. It has been edited in Life and Times of 
Anthony Wood, Oxford Historical Society, 1892, vol. ii. p. 489, note 6, and in many 
other works. 

5 ibid. Ballard MS. 4. fo. 55, ol. 30. 


\ owe to the kindness of the Rev. Douglas Macleane, Preben 
dary of Sarum, a copy of two inscriptions in the Ilchester Chantry 
at Farley, Wilts. The one is on the tomb of Sir Stephen Fox and 
his wife, who both departed this life in 1716. It is in French, and 
ends thus : 

Dieu Aye Merci de leurs Ames. 

The second, to the memory of the Hon. Charlotte Elizabeth 
Fox, daughter of Lord and Lady Ilchester, who died in 1753, 
finishes with a like petition : 

May the Almighty God have mercy on her Soul. 

He also sends me an inscription from a gravestone in the east 
cloisters of Salisbury. Before it is an incised Greek cross : 

To the memory of the Revd. Richd. Turner, who died i4th of May 
1794 aged 77 years, R. I. P. 

The same good friend has sent me the prayer which Dr. M. J. 
Routh, the famous President of Magdalen College, Oxford, put in 
1822 upon the tomb of his brother, Samuel Routh, B.D. 

Grant, O Lord, that the Soul of our Brother here departed may rest 
in thy Peace and Protection, and Reign in thy Kingdom in Heaven, 
through the Merits and Mediation of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, Amen. 

Amongst Dr. Routh's papers were found two drafts of an epitaph 
for himself, neither of which, as in the case of Thorndike, was put 
over his grave : 

1 . All ye who come here, in your Christian and charitable hope, wish 
peace and felicity, and a consummation of it afterwards, to the soul of 
Martin Joseph Routh, the last Rector of the undivided parish of Tylehurst, 
and brother of the pious Foundress of this Church. (Theale) He departed 
this life (22. Dec. 1854} aged (100). Dying, as he had lived, attached to the 
Catholic Faith taught in the Church of England, and averse from all papal 
and sectarian innovations. 

2. O all ye who come here, wish peace in your Christian hope and 
charity to the soul of Martin Joseph Routh, the last Rector of the un 
divided parish of Tylehurst, and brother of the Foundress of this Church. 
He died . . . MDCCCX . . ., aged Ixx . . ., and lies buried in the ad 
joining crypt with his wife, Eliza Agnes Blagrave of Calcot, whom the Lord 
grant to find mercy from the Lord in that day. She died (23 March) 
MDCCC (Ixtx.) aged (Ixxviii.). 1 

As it was, the President was buried in the quire of Magdalen 
College Chapel, and his wife in Holywell Cemetery. The second 

J J. R. Bloxam, Register of Presidents &c. Oxford, James Parker, 1881, vol. iv. 
(the Demies) p. 25. 


draft appears to have been written after the second decade of the 
nineteenth century was ended. 

1 am indebted to the Rev. Herbert Salter for the following in 
scription which still exists at Northmoor, beyond Bablock-Hythe, 
Stanton near Harcourt The date is about 1714. 

Richard Lydall gave a new Bell 

and built the Bel loft free 
and then he said before he died 

Let Ringers pray for me. 

The saintly Bishop of Sodor and Man, Thomas Wilson, records 
amongst his Maxims the epitaphs of Bishop Barrow and Mr. Thorn- 
dike, 1 but it does not appear exactly for what purpose. 

This is part of the will of Dr. Thomas Ken, deprived for not 
taking the oaths to William and Mary. 

May the here interred Thomas late Bp. of Bath & Wells & uncanoni- 
cally Deprived for not transferring his Allegiance have a perfect consumma 
tion of Blisse both in body and Soul at the Great day, of w ch God keep 
me allwaies mindfull. 2 

One may notice the transition into the first person at the end of 
the sentence, as in the epitaph given above of Dr. Isaac Barrow 
into the second. Ken prayed for his friend Coles thus in a letter 
dated October 24, 1677. 

It pleased God to take away Mr. Coles between 10 and n of the clock 
last night. . . . Cujus anima requiescat in pace. 3 

Fielding's own opinions are of no account in theology ; but he 
is an important witness to the general feeling of people in his time. 
In the following extract, he represents a flippant conversation be 
tween a woman recently widowed and a friend, who says to the 
widow you pray for the happiness of your tyrant now you are out 
of his power. 

LADY MATCHLESS. . . . freed from that torment, an injurious husband : 
one who but he is gone, and, I hope, to heaven. 

VERMILIA. That's a generous wish, my dear ; and yet I believe it is 
the wish of many whose husbands deserve a worse place. 

LA. MATCH. You mean during the life of a bad husband ; but those 
prayers, then, flow more from self-interest than generosity ; for who wou'd 

1 Thomas Wilson, Maxims of Piety and Morality, 225, in Works, ed. by John 
Keble, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1860, vol. v. p. 395. The editor notes that both epitaphs 
are omitted in the quarto edition. 

2 Transcribed from a facsimile of Ken's own handwriting, in W. L. Bowles, Life of 
Thomas Ken, London, Murray, 1830, vol. ii. opposite p. 35. 

3 ibid. vol. ii. p. 37. 


not wish her spouse in heaven, when it was the only way to deliver herself 
out of a hell ? 

VERM. True, indeed. But yours are the efforts of pure good nature ; 
you pray for the happiness of your tyrant, now you are delivered out of his 

LA. MATCH. Ah ! poor man ! since I can say nothing to his ad 
vantage, let him sleep in peace. 1 

Amongst his notes on the religious customs of Wales, Thomas 
Pennant says : 

In some places it was customary for the friends of the dead to kneel, 
and say the Lord's Prayer over the grave, for several Sundays after the inter 
ment ; and then to dress the grave with flowers. 2 

Thus Pennant testifies to the custom of kneeling at the grave ; 
and a later writer commenting upon Pennant, thinks he has found how 
it was that the friends of the deceased knelt at the grave, and adds : 

In Corwen churchyard there are gravestones of a very peculiar form, 
evidently pointing to the old custom of praying for or over the dead. They 
are only a few inches above the ground, placed at the head and foot of the 
grave, with holes for the knees of those who pray. 

* * * 

The custom most likely lingered long in secluded districts, which held 
but little intercourse with the outer world, and the probability is that even 
so late as the beginning of the present [nineteenth] century people prayed for 
or over their dead in and about Corwen. 3 

The particular shape of the gravestones mentioned by this last 
writer may be seen in England as well as in Wales ; but in England 
the stones are often so high that they would hardly serve to kneel 
upon. It seems more reasonable to imagine that the stonemason 
has given an undulating outline to the upper edge of the tombstone 
for the purpose of giving a sort of artistic finish to the work rather 
than for any practical purpose. 

The question of the mere legality of inscriptions with a prayer for 
the departed on tombstones in the cemeteries of the Church of 
England came before the Court of Arches on Dec. 12, 1838 some 
five years after our period had ended. It was decided by Sir Herbert 
Jenner, afterwards Sir Herbert Jenner Fust, that " no authority or 
canon had been pointed out by which the practice [of praying for the 

1 Henry Fielding, Love in several Masques, Act ii. Sc. i. in Works, ed. Murphy and 
Browne, London, Bickers, vol. i. p. 104. 

a Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Wales, 1770, London, 1784, vol. ii. p. 339. 

3 Elias Owen, Old Stone Crosses of the vale of Clvoyd, Bernard Quaritch, 1886, pp. 

22, 23. 


dead] had been expressly prohibited," l and the inscription with a 
prayer for the deceased was allowed. 

But there is a decision of more authority still. The Prayer Book 
itself contains prayers for the faithful departed according to Cosin. 

His opinions expressed before the beginning of our period when 
he was commenting on the words then in the Burial service : That 
we with this our brother and all other departed in the true faith &c. 
were to this effect : 

The puritans think that here is prayer for the dead allowed and practised 
by the Church of England, and so think I ; but we are not both of one 
mind in censuring the Church for so doing. They say it is popish and 
superstitious ; I for my part esteem it pious and Christian. 2 

But in 1 66 1 the Bishops amended the words 
that we with this our brother and all other departed in the true faith 
and substituted 

that we with all those that are departed in the true faith 
for the good reason that the former implied that the person buried 
was in a state of salvation. The Puritans had objected, says Wheatly, 

against all that expressed any assurance of the deceased party's happi 
ness, which they did not think proper to be said indifferently over all that 
died. However, upon the review of the Common Prayer afterwards, these 
words were left out. Not but that the sentence as it is still left standing, 
may well enough be understood to imply the dead as well as the living : for 
we pray, as it is now, that we, with all those who are departed in the true 
faith of God's holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss ; 
which is not barely a supposition, that all those who are so departed will 
have their perfect consummation and bliss ; but a prayer also that they may 
have it, viz. that we with them, and they with us, may be made perfect to 
gether, both in body and soul, in the eternal and everlasting glory of God. 3 

To consider now handbooks of Prayer. 

Dr. Cosin's Devotions were for years after the Restoration very 
popular. At the end of the book are Prayers and Thanksgivings for 
Sundry Purposes, and among these is a prayer for the whole Catholic 
Church, at the end of which the faithful Departed are remembered 

thy happy Servants our Fathers and Brethren who have departed this 
life with the seal of Faith, and do now rest in the sleep of peace . . . and 

1 The Judgement is given at length in the British Magazine, 1839, vol. xv. p. 91. 

2 John Cosin, Notes and Collections on the Book of Common Prayer, First Series, 
in Works, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1855, vol. v. p. 169. 

3 Charles Wheatly, A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, ch, xii. 
sect. iv. ii. 2. ed. Corrie, Cambridge, 1858, p. 581. 



that at the last day we with them and they with us may attain to the Resur 
rection of the just, and have our perfect consummation both of Soul and 
body. 1 

At the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of the 
eighteenth, there flourished a Mrs. Susanna Hopton, who early in 
life was perverted to the Roman Communion, but later on returned 
to the Communion of the English Established Church. Under the 
influence of Dr. George Hickes, a Bishop among the Dissenting Non- 
jurors, she brought out in 1700 a book entitled Devotions in the An 
cient way of Offices. It was very popular and went through a large 
number of editions, 2 the last being in 1765. It is allowable, there 
fore, to think that the Devotions were much used by members of the 
Established Church of England. The handful of Dissenting Non- 
jurors could riot have absorbed so many. 

Like so many of those eighteenth century concoctions, it showed 
a marvellous lack of the sense of humour. The productions labelled 
psalms were not psalms at all, not even centoes of the psalms, but 
independent flights of the good lady's imagination though adorned 
with invitatories and antiphons as if they had been real psalms. Of 
the hymns the less said the better. But at this moment that which 
asks our attention is the preparatory Office for Death by way of Com 
memoration of the Faithful departed. 

This office contains a sort of anthem : 

Give all thy faithful eternal rest, O merciful God, and may thy glorious 
Light shine upon them for ever. 

which is repeated as : Give us eternal, etc. This may justify its 
calling itself an office for the dead. There are prayers containing 
petitions "that we, with all these that are departed in the true 
Faith of thy Holy Catholick Church, may have their perfect con 
summation and bliss ". 

In some editions there is a prayer : " We commend also unto thee, 
all other thy servants that have departed hence from us with the 
sign of faith, and now rest in the sleep of peace," words which seemed 
borrowed from the Second Memento of the Roman Canon. 

The same Mrs. Hopton issued in 1717, "reviewed and set forth 
by the late learned Dr. Hickes. Published by N. Spinckes," a book 

1 John [Cosin], A Collection of Private Devotions, London, Royston, eighth edition, 
1681, p. 347. 

2 See Edgar Hoskins, Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis, Longmans, 1901, p. 90. 


with the title : A Collection of Meditations and Devotions, London, 
Midwinter; on p. 129, meditating on the clause " Thy Kingdom 
come " in the Lord's Prayer, she says : 

Hasten thy Coming in the Kingdom of Glory, for thine Elect sake 
here, and for thy Faithful departed ; 

That they, in the Resurrection of their Bodies, and we, both in Bodies 
and Souls, may enjoy the Fulness of thy Glory, in giving thee Praise and 
Thanksgiving for ever. 

This does not seem to have had such success as the Reformed 
Devotions. In 1719 there was brought out at Oxford, with the 
imprimatur of the Vice-Chancellor, a book of devotions by Joseph 
Wasse, Rector of Aynbo, with a somewhat long title, as follows : 

Reformed Devotions being a collection of the best Hymns Prayers, 
and other Spiritual Exercises, for all occasions composed by Divines of 
the Church of England, and foreign Ascetics Laud, Featley, Duppa, 
Whitchcot, Wettinghal, Cosins, Hammond, Taylour, Bernard, Scot, 
Tillotson, Patrick, Kettlewel, Bennet, Th. a Kempis, Stanhop, Inet, Hickes, 
Nelson, Gothair, &c. The Whole Corrected and improv'd . . . Oxford, 

The reader will remark this motley list of writers from whom 
Wasse has borrowed a good number of his prayers. Wasse has not, 
however, included the name of Mrs. Hopton, though he has bor 
rowed a large part of his Preparatory Office for Death from her Re 
formed Devotions, such as pseudo-psalms and " Give us eternal rest 
O merciful Lord and may the Light of thy Countenance shine upon 
us for ever " to be said in the place of Gloria Patri at the end of 
some of these strange compositions. 

During the pontificate of Dr. John Moore, Archbishop of Canter 
bury, the King commanded a General Thanksgiving for the victories 
vouchsafed to His Majesty's Fleets. After the General Thanks 
giving there is a prayer beginning : " O God our Defence and 
Strength"; at the end of the middle paragraph of which there is 
this clause : 

And for those, whom in this Righteous Cause Thy Providence per 
mits to fall, Receive, we pray Thee, their Souls to Thy Mercy ; and be 
Thou, O Lord, the Friend and the Father of their Widows and their 
Orphans. 1 

The Rev. Henry Austin Wilson, Librarian of Magdalen College, 

1 A Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving to Almighty God ; to be used . . . on Tues 
day the Nineteenth Day of December 1797, . . . By His Majesty's Special Command, 
London, Eyre and Strahan, 1797, p. 8. 


Oxford, has kindly told me that the same clause occurs in the 
same place in a form of Thanksgiving to be used on November 29, 
1 798, issued by the Royal Authority. 

To deal now with the opinions of authors of reputation and 

The work of Thorndike from which the following extract is 
taken appeared in the year before the Restoration. 

53. I will not here allege that the Church of England teacheth to 
pray for the dead : where the Litany prays for deliverance " in the hour of 
death and in the day of judgement ; " or when we pray after the commun 
ion, that " by the merits and death of Christ, and through faith in His 
blood, we and all the whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and 
all other benefits of His passion." But it is manifest, that in the service 
appointed in the time of Edward the Sixth prayer is made for the dead, 
both before the Communion, and at the Burial, to the same purpose as 
I maintain. It is manifest also, that it was changed in Queen Elizabeth's 
time to content the Puritans ; who now it appears could not be content 
with less than breaking of the Church in pieces. 

54. And, therefore, since unity hath not been obtained by parting 
with the law of the Catholic Church (in mine opinion) for the love of it, 
I continue the resolution to bound reformation by the rule of the Catholic 
Church : allowing, that it may be matter of reformation to restore the 
prayers which are made for the dead to the original sense of the whole 
Church ; but maintaining, that to take away all prayer for the dead is not 
paring off abuses but cutting to the quick. 1 

And again in a work published two years after the Restoration. 

And therefore St. Ambrose and St. Augustine had great reason to follow 
the fourth Book of Esdras, (written, without doubt, by a very antient 
Christian, though not authorized by the Church) placing the generality of 
souls departed in the state of Grace in certain secret receptacles ; signifying 
no more, then the unknown Condition of their estate. For, the practice 
of the Church, in interceding for them at the Celebration of the Eucharist, 
is so general, and so antient, that it cannot bee thought to have come in 
upon imposture, but that the same aspersion will seem to take hold of the 

Common Christianity. 

* * * 

In the mean time then, what hinders them to receive comfort and re 
freshment^ rest^ and peace, and light, (by the visitation of God, by the con 
solation of his Spirit, by his good Angels) to sustain in the expectation of 
their tryal. 2 

1 Herbert Thorndike, Of the Laws of the Church, Book III. ch. xxix. in Theo 
logical Works, Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1853, Vol. IV. part ii. p. 722. 

z idem, Just Weights and Measures, London, Martin, 1662, p. 106, ch. xvi. 


In Jeremy Taylor's last considerable work, A Dissuasive from 
Popery, published in 1664, he writes thus : 

Upon what accounts the fathers did pray for the saints departed, and 
indeed generally for all, it is not now seasonable to discourse ; but to say 
this only, that such general prayers for the dead as those above reckoned, 
the church of England never did condemn by any express article, but 
left it in the middle ; and by her practice declares her faith of the resur 
rection of the dead, and her interest in the communion of saints, and that 
the saints departed are a portion of the catholic church, parts and mem 
bers of the body of Christ ; but expressly condemns the doctrine of pur 
gatory, and consequently, all prayers for the dead relating to it. 1 

Thomas Hearne is not to be reckoned among the dissenting 
Nonjurors : and yet he says : 

Praying for the dead is most certainly a very ancient and primitive 
Custom, as appears from the Fathers. Our best English Divines also are 
for it, and many use it privately, tho' not publickly. Dr. Isaac Barrow 
and Mr. Thorndyke were mightily for it. 2 

This private use was acknowledged by Sheldon, Archbishop of 
Canterbury and Blandford, Bishop of Worcester in their conversa 
tions with Anne Hyde, Duchess of York. They said : 

That praying for the Dead was one of the ancient things in Christianity : 
That for their parts, they did it daily, tho' they would not own it. 3 

As to the last six words we may remember that the statement 
passes through a Roman mouth and may be expected to represent 
unfavourably anything Anglican. 

Wake in his discourse of prayers for the dead acknowledges 
their antiquity, but disapproves of them. 

We do indeed confess, that this Custom of Praying for the Dead, was 
one of the most early Practices of the Church** 

He is driven to the argument that the early Church was not 

Robert Nelson declares the doctrine of Dr. George Bull upon 
the intermediate state, that the souls of men subsist after death, 
either happy or miserable as they have been good or bad in their 
past lives, until the Resurrection, but that there is no foundation 

1 Jeremy Taylor, A Dissuasive from Popery, Part I. ch. i. iv. in Works, ed. R. 
Heber, London, 1822, vol. x. p. 148. 

2 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1907, vol. 
viii. p. 168. 

3 A complete history of England, vol. iii. sec. ed. London, 1719, p. 320. 

4 [William Wake,] Two Discourses: of Purgatory, and Prayers for the Dead, 
London, Chiswell, 1687, p. 67. 


for the doctrine of purgatory. The best men after death were in 
separate places of rest and refreshment, not in purgatory. The 
Bishop asks : 

what Grounds can there be for that Furnace, which she [the Church 
of Rome] hath heated as necessary to purifie almost all that go out of this 
Life, though with the Sign of Faith ; even for a Purgatory . . . those 
[Prayers] of the ancient Church being only for such who were at peace, 
and who rest in Christ, but they who are exposed to the Pains of Purga 
tory, cannot certainly be said to enjoy those Advantages. 1 

Wheatly speaks with approval of the ancient catholic prayers 
for the dead, and his book may be taken as of importance as in 
dicating the authorised teaching. 

Prayers for the Dead an ancient and catholic practice [in mJ\. 

2. In the primitive church too their prayers were more extensive, 
and took in the dead as well as the living : not that they had any notion 
of the Romish purgatory, or so much as imagined that those whom they 
prayed for were racked or tormented with any temporary pain . . . they 
prayed for the souls of the deceased, that they might not only rest in peace 
for the present, but also obtain part in the first resurrection. 2 

John Johnson, one of the most learned writers of the eighteenth 
century, says : 

Prayer and Oblations for the Dead were indeed established here from 
the first dawnings of Christianity among us ; and ther[e] is reason to 
believe, that ther[e] was no Church, or Age for the first 1500 Years, in 
which these Devotions were not used ; especially because it is evident, that 
this Practise obtain'd among the Jews before the Incarnation of our Lord : 
This appears from 2 Maccab. xii. 39-45, which is true History, tho' not 
Canonical Scripture. And ther[e] is no direct or indirect Prohibition of 
it in the New Testament, to the best of my Knowledge and Observation. 
But in those ancient Times Men were not under any Obligation to offer 
their Devotions for the dead, upon a Supposition that their Souls were in 
Purgatory ; but upon another Principle universally granted, viz. that they 
were in a very imperfect state of Happiness. Yet it must be confess'd, 
that the conceit of a Purgatory was gaining ground apace in the Age of 
Bede ; "but it was an Opinion only, not an Article of Faith, till the 
Council of Trent made it so. 3 

In an earlier work the same author had said : 

1 Robert Nelson, Life of Dr. George Bull, late Lord Bishop of St. David's, London, 
Richard Smith, 1713, p. 482. 

2 Charles Wheatly, A rational illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, ch. vi. 
section xi. ed. Corrie, Cambridge, 1858, p. 326. 

3 John Johnson, A Collection of All the Ecclesiastical Laws, Canons, Answers or 
Rescripts &c. London, Knaplock, 1720, General Preface, p. xix. 


There is one Proof of the Propitiatory Nature of the Eucharist, ac 
cording to the Sentiments of the Ancient Church, which will be thought 
but only too great ; and that is the Devotions used in the Liturgies, and 
so often spoken of by the Fathers, in behalf of deceased Souls : There is, 
I suppose, no Liturgy without them, and the Fathers frequently speak 
of them. 1 

Bingham after a lengthy account of the teachings of the fathers 
upon the practice of praying for the dead, adds : 

All these were general Reasons of Praying for the Dead, without the 
least Intimation of their being tormented in the temporary Pains of a 
Purgatory-Fire. Besides which, they had some particular Opinions, which 
tended to promote this Practice. For first, a great many of the Ancients 
believed, that the Souls of all the Righteous, except Martyrs, were se- 
questred out of Heaven in some Place invisible to mortal Eye, which they 
called Hades, or Paradise, or Abraham's Bosom, a Place of Refreshment and 
Joy, where they expected a compleater Happiness at the End of all Things. 

* * * 

St. Chrysostom says farther, that their Prayers and Alms were of use to 
procure an Addition to the Rewards and Retribution of the Righteous. 
These are all the Reasons we meet with in the Ancients for praying for 
Souls departed, none of which have any Relation to their being tormented 
in the Fire of Purgatory, but most of them tend directly to overthrow it. 2 

One may not call the Dissenting Nonjurors as witnesses for 
Church of England practice. But there can be no doubt that their 
writings had great influence upon the churchmen left behind, 
who did not go into schism with them. Therefore it may be well 
to name them : for example, Thomas Brett quotes Thorndike and 
the Bishop of St. Asaph, Isaac Barrow, whose epitaphs have been 
given above. 3 

Archibald Campbell, a bishop of the Nonjuring Church of 
Scotland and a cadet of the House of Argyle, published in 1721 a 
serious contribution to the subject of the middle state which John 
son recommended to the notice of the Duchess of Argyle when he 
was at Inverary. 4 It is to be feared that when in London, he did 
not communicate with the Church of England. 

Johnson, The Unbloody Sacrifice and Altar, London, Knaplock, 1714, 
Part i. p. 287. 

2 Joseph Bingham, The Antiquities of the Christian Church, Book XV. ch. iii. 
16, in Works, London, Knaplock, 1726, vol. i. pp. 759-761. 

3 Thomas Brett, A Collection of the Principal Liturgies, London, King, 1720, in 
A Dissertation concerning the preceding Liturgies, p. 425. I do not think that Brett 
had returned to the Communion of the Church of England, if ever he did, when he 
published this work. 

4 James Boswell, Journal of a tour to the Hebrides, October 25, 1773. 


Having surveyed the Fathers of the first centuries, he begins 
his Introduction with the sentence : 

I come now to bring my Vouchers for Prayers for the Dead, in a more 
general Sense. But I think it proper first to Premise the Notion I have 
of the State of the Dead, which may serve for a Key whereby to make 
Prayers for the Dead, the more intelligible. 1 

He divides the dead into four classes : 

i. those who die unrepentant. 

ii. those who repent on their death-beds, or in the article of 

iii. those that have begun a course of real repentance, and 
broken off ill habits. 

iv. those who have habits of virtue rooted and rivetted in them. 

It is for these of the two last Classes, that the publick Prayers, Offer 
ings, or Thanksgivings of the Primitive Church were principally offered, and 
the Prayers run, generally in these Terms. For those who have departed 
this Life, in, or, with the sign of Faith, and are at Rest in the Lord. 2 

He allows of a Purification after Death, 8 but regrets the notion 
of the Popish Purgatory. 

George Hickes, the learned Dean of Worcester, dispossessed at the 
Revolution, became a Bishop among the Nonjurors, and left behind 
him an office for the dead which was to be said after his departure. 
It fills more than a folio page, but the substance may be given in one 
paragraph from the middle of the prayer : 

I pray God grant Light, Rest, Refreshment, andfoy to all those who 
have Died with the Sign of Faith** 

The Judgment of the Right Reverend Bishop Hickes upon the 
middle state and prayers for the dead follows soon after this office, 
but as his practice has been stated it is not so necessary to reproduce 
his reasons. 5 

Dr. Grabe, the learned Prussian, was on the eve of joining the 
Roman Communion, when he discovered the existence of the 
Church of England. He came to England and was made a Doctor 
of Divinity in the University of Oxford. A letter of his dated 
Oxford, 4th July, 1700, is printed by Archibald Campbell. 

I pray you likewise to Pray, whenever you please, and Offer the most 
Holy Sacrifice to God, for the Soul of One Young Man, of my Relation, in 

1 Archibald Campbell, The Doctrine of a Middle State, London, Tayler, 1721, p. 
64. There was an earlier edition, anonymous, printed by Keble in 1713 in 8. 
*ibid. p. 69. s ibid. p. no. *ibid. p. 179. 5 ibid. p. 198. 


Prussia, lately departed this Life ; whose Name was Frederick . . . God 
have mercy on him, and Bless his Soul in Peace} 

The date of the subjoined letter from John Wesley makes it 
likely that he had not yet fallen into schism. 

1 Your Fourth argument is, That in a Collection of Prayers, I cite the 
words of an ancient Liturgy, " For the faithful departed." Sir, whenever 
I use those words in the Burial Service, I pray to the same effect : 
" That we, with all those who are departed in thy faith and fear, may have 
our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul : " Yea, and 
whenever I say, " Thy kingdom come ; " for I mean both the kingdom of 
grace and glory. In this kind of general prayer, therefore, " for the faith 
ful departed," I conceive myself to be clearly justified both by the earliest 
antiquity, by the Church of England, and by the Lord's Prayer ; although 
the Papists have corrupted this scriptural practice into praying for those 
who die in their sins. 2 

Sir John Hawkins, in his Life of Johnson, tells us that Johnson 
in his early days associated with nonjurors and was much influenced 
by them, as indeed so many churchmen were. Hawkins mentions 
particularly Dr. Thomas Brett as turning his thoughts in the direc 
tion of praying for the dead. 3 

Johnson had a conversation with Boswell about March 27, 1772 
on the subject of a middle state, and Boswell objected the passage 
about Dives. 

JOHNSON. Why, Sir, we must either suppose that passage to be meta 
phorical, or hold with many divines, and all the Purgatorians, that departed 
souls do not all at once arrive at the utmost perfection of which they are 

BOSWELL. I think, Sir, that is a very rational supposition. 

JOHNSON. Why, yes, Sir ; but we do not know it is a true one. There 
is no harm in believing it ; but you must not compel others to make it an 
article of faith ; for it is not revealed. 

BOSWELL. Do you think, Sir, it is wrong in a man who holds the 
doctrine of purgatory, to pray for the souls of his deceased friends ? 

JOHNSON. Why, no, Sir. 

BOSWELL. I have been told, that in the Liturgy of the Episcopal 
Church of Scotland, there was a form of prayer for the dead. 

JOHNSON. Sir, it is not in the liturgy which Laud framed for the Epis 
copal Church of Scotland ; if there is a liturgy older than that, I should be 
glad to see it. 

Boswell most likely alludes to the final clauses of the prayer for 

1 Archibald Campbell, p. 178. 

2 John Wesley, Second Letter to Lavington, Bishop of Exeter, written in 1752, in 
Works, London, Mason, third ed. 1830, vol. ix. p. 55. Cf. vol. x. p. 9. 

3 John Hawkins, Life of Samuel Johnson, London, 1787, p. 448. 


the Church militant in King Charles' Book, published at Edinburgh 
in 1637: these were afterwards transplanted into the Liturgy of 
1764 ; but there is less prayer for the faithful departed in this Scot 
tish Liturgy than in the English prayer for the Church militant of 

Boswell speaks of Dr. Johnson's practice of recommending de 
parted Christian souls to the mercy of God. He writes of Dr. 
Johnson : 

That he, in conformity with the opinion of many of the most able, 
learned, and pious Christians in all ages, supposed that there was a middle 
state after death, previous to the time at which departed souls are finally 
received to eternal felicity, appears, I think, unquestionably from his de 
votions. 1 

He then quotes the prayer which Johnson used on Easter Day 

And, O Lord, so far as it may be lawful for me, I commend to thy 
fatherly goodness the soul of my departed wife ; beseeching Thee to grant 
her whatever is best in her present state, and finally to receive her to eternal 
happiness. 2 

On January 23, 1759, the day on which his mother was buried, 
he prays : 

I commend, O Lord, so far as it may be lawful, into thy hands, the soul 
of my departed mother, beseeching Thee to grant her whatever is most 
beneficial to her in her present state. 3 

Preparing for communion on Easter Even, 1764, Johnson says : 

I prayed for Tett. 4 

On Easter Day, the same year, he says : 

After sermon I recommended Tetty in a prayer by herself ; and my 
father, mother, brother, and Bathurst in another. I did it only once, so 
far as it might be lawful for me. 5 

The allusion to Bathurst is touching ; for it is said he seldom 
spoke of Bathurst without tears in his eyes. 

On Easter Day, 1765, he writes down his intentions : 

At church I purpose, 

Before I leave the pew, to pray the occasional prayer, and read my 

To pray for Tetty and the rest. 

* * * 

1 Boswell' s Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. i. p. 240. 

2 Prayers and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson, ed. Geo. Strahan, 
London, Cadell, 1785, p. 14. 

3 ibid. p. 32. *ibid. London, Cadell, 1785, p. 47. 5 ibid. p. 48. 


This was done, as I purposed, but with some distraction. 1 
On Easter Day, April 7, 1776, he writes : 

The time is again at which, since the death of my poor dear Tetty, on 
whom God have mercy, I have annually commemorated the mystery of 
Redemption. 2 

On Easter Day, April 6, 1777, he commended Tetty and other 
friends. 3 

In 1778 at Easter he again remembers Tetty, 

upon whose soul may God have had mercy for the sake of Jesus Christ. 4 

On the death of Mrs. Williams in September, 1783, he writes in 
his prayer, 

Look upon her, O Lord, with mercy. 5 

On the death ofThrale in 1781 he had prayed 

for whom, so far as is lawful, I humbly implore thy mercy in his present 


and he had written on Good Friday 

May God, that delighteth in mercy have had mercy on thee. 7 

At Levett's sudden death Johnson wrote in a memorandum 

book : 

Commendavi. May God have mercy on him. May he have mercy 
on me. 8 

In the Orthodox Churchman s Magazine for 1804, there arose a 
correspondence concerning the use of prayers for the dead, out of a 
discussion upon the intermediate state. A correspondent asks if it 
be conformable to the liturgy of the established Church to pray for 
deceased relations ; and gives for an instance Dr. Johnson's prac 
tice. 9 In reply, a correspondent answers that the soundest divines 
thought the practice lawful and have also acted upon this opinion : 
such as Andrewes, Hickes, Bull, Grabe, Collier, and others. He 
continues : 

Certainly the practice of praying for the dead is of very antient date, 
as any one may see who will give himself the trouble of looking into the 
primitive liturgies, even into the best ecclesiastical historians. If indeed 

1 Prayers and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson, London, Cadell, 1785, 
p. 58. 

z ibid. p. 139. 2 ibid. p. 152. 4 ibid. p. 160. 5 ibid. p. 210. 

6 ibid. p. 191. See also p. 208. "' ibid. p. 185. 

8 Boswell's Life of Johnson, Oxford, 1887, vol. iv. p. 137. 

9 Orthodox Churchman's Magazine and Review, London, 1804, vol. vi. p. 20. 


the soul departs at once to a state of complete felicity, or to the fixed 
place of torment, then to pray for its repose would be presumptuous if not 
sinful. But on the ground that its absolute condition will not be fixed 
till the last judgment, and that it is now in an intermediate state, prayer on 
its behalf appears to be an act of Christian charity. 1 

Dr. Reginald Heber, the Bishop of Calcutta, wrote thus in a 
letter, dated January 2, 1821, to a kinswoman who had recently lost 
her husband : 

Few persons, I believe, have lost a beloved object, more particularly 
by sudden death, without feeling an earnest desire to recommend them in 
their prayers to God's mercy, and a sort of instinctive impression that such 
devotions might still be serviceable to them in that intermediate state 
which we are taught by Scripture precedes the final judgment. The Ro 
man Catholics, by their interested doctrines of hired masses for the dead, 
and by their unwarranted and melancholy notion of a purgatory to which 
even the good are liable, have prejudiced the greater number of Protes 
tants against this opinion ; and it is, I confess, one which is not so clearly 
revealed or countenanced in Scripture, as to make the practice of praying 
for the dead obligatory on any Christian. 

* * * 

I have accordingly been myself in the habit for some years of recom 
mending on some occasions, as after receiving the Sacrament, &c. &c., 
my lost friends by name to God's goodness and compassion through His 
Son, as what can do them no harm, and may^ and I hope will, be of ser 
vice to them. Only this caution I always endeavour to observe that I 
beg His forgiveness at the same time for myself if unknowingly I am too 
presumptuous. 2 

The same writer, the year after this letter, before he became 
Bishop of Calcutta, edited Jeremy Taylor's works ; and speaking 
of the latter' s teaching upon prayers for the dead, as distinguished 
from prayers for the release of souls out of purgatory, he comments : 

The same subject he [Jeremy Taylor] pursues when discussing the 
question of purgatory, which doctrine he judiciously distinguishes from the 
really ancient doctrine or practice of prayer for the dead. 3 

Stating the disbelief of the Greeks in a Purgatory, while yet 
they practised praying for the dead, Dr. Waddington, afterwards 
Dean of Durham, says : 

In truth, to pray for the souls of our departed friends is the most 
natural and pardonable error of piety ; and though it be dangerous and 

1 Orthodox Churchman's Magazine and Review, London, 1804, vol. vi. p. 93. 

2 [Frances Williams Wynn,] Diaries of a lady of quality, ed. by A. Hayward, sec. 
ed. London, Longmans, 1864, pp. 208, 209. 

8 Reginald Heber, Life of Jeremy Taylor, p. ccxliv. (Prefixed to Works, London, 
1822, vol. i.). 


improper to inculcate as a church doctrine the efficacy of such prayers, it 
would neither be right to discourage their private and individual effusion, 
nor easy to disprove the possibility of their acceptance. 1 


Leaving now the subject of prayers for the dead, the invocation 
of departed saints in one form or another may be considered. 

Amongst the early practices in the Christian Church is the 
custom of praying to God that the departed Saints may pray for 
us : What is called Oro ut oret. There is an example of this 
in the prayer said at Evensong in the first order published for the 
commemoration of King Charles the Martyr. It is a mistake to 
look upon it as a prayer for the dead ; it is a prayer that we may 
be worthy that the Saints may pray for us. It is as follows : 

And we beseech Thee to give us all grace to remember and provide 
for our latter end, by a careful studious imitation of this thy blessed Saint 
and Martyr, and all other thy Saints and Martyrs that have gone before 
us, that we may be made worthy to receive benefit by their Prayers, which 
they in Communion with thy Church Catholick offer unto thee for that 
part of it here Militant, and yet in fight with, and danger from the flesh ; 
that following the blessed steps of their holy Lives and Deaths, we may 
also shew forth the Light of a good example. 2 

The above is a portion of the third section of the long prayer to 
be said in place of the Collect at Evening Prayer on the anni 
versary of the death of King Charles the First. 

Thorndike in 1662 speaks of the concern of the departed for 
those remaining below. 

Now, all Members of the Church Triumphant in Heaven, according 
to the degree of their favour with God, abound also with love to his 
Church Militant on earth. And, though they know not the necessities of 
particular persons, without particular Revelation from God; yet they 
know there are such necessities, so long as the Church is Militant on earth. 
Therefore it is certain, both that they offer continual prayers to God for 
those necessities; and, that their prayers must needs bee of great force 
and effect with God, for the assistance of the Church Militant in this 
warfare. 3 

There is the same thought in an anonymous Elegy sacred to the 

1 George Waddington, The Present Condition and Prospects of the Greek, or Ori 
ental Church, London, Murray, 1829, p. 37. 

2 A form of Common Prayer to be used upon the thirtieth of January, . . . Pub 
lished by His Majestie's direction, London, John Bill, 1661. 

3 Herbert Thorndike, Just Weights and Measures, London, Martin, 1662, p. 107, 
ch. xvi. 


Memory of Dr. Thomas Kenn, the deprivd Bishop of Bath and 
Wells : which ends thus : 

Farewell blest Saint, almost invoked below, 
But hear me first and grant this pious Vow, 
Be thou our Guide and Guardian Angel now ; 
For if Departed Souls can intercede 
None can the Churches Cause so fitly plead ; 
None suffer'd more, none better knew her State, 
Nor can Her danger better deprecate. 1 

The Spectator makes a dying wife to write thus to her husband 
at a distance : 

Why may we not please ourselves at least, to alleviate the Difficulty of 
resigning this Being, in imagining that we shall have a Sense of what 
passes below, and may possibly be employed in guiding the Steps of those 
with whom we walked with Innocence when mortal ? 2 

The same thought occurs in Dr. Johnson's prayer which is 
given below. 

Johnson's practice of remembering at the altar his beloved 
friends has been spoken of above. In the following extract he 
seems to have desired the prayers of the saints, but not to have 
recommended invocation. 

We know little of the state of departed souls, because such knowledge 
is not necessary to a good life. Reason deserts us at the brink of the 
grave, and can give no farther intelligence. Revelation is not wholly 
silent. There is joy in the angels of Heaven over one sinner that repenteth ; 
and surely this joy is not incommunicable to souls disentangled from the 
body, and made like angels. 

Let hope therefore dictate, what revelation does not confute, that the 
union of souls may still remain ; and that we who are struggling with sin, 
sorrow, and infirmities, may have our part in the attention and kindness 
of those who have finished their course, and are now receiving their re 
ward. 3 

So, on the death of his wife seven years before, he had prayed 
as follows : 

April 26, 1752, being after 12 at Night of the 25th. 

Lord ! Governour of heaven and earth, in whose hands are em 
bodied and departed Spirits, if thou hast ordained the Souls of the Dead 
to minister to the Living, and appointed my departed Wife to have care 
of me, grant that I may enjoy the good effects of her attention and minis 
tration, whether exercised by appearance, impulses, dreams or in any other 

1 Bodleian Library, shelfmark: fol. 0. 662. (41.) 

2 Spectator, No. 204, Wednesday, October 24, 1711. 

3 Samuel Johnson, Idler, No. 41, in Works, Edinburgh, 1806, vol. viii. p. 156. 


manner agreeable to thy Government. Forgive my presumption, enlighten 
my ignorance, and however meaner agents are employed, grant me the 
blessed influences of thy holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 1 

This thought is followed out when in 1782, on March 28, he 
writes : 

Perhaps Tetty is now praying for me. God help me. 2 

Mrs. Hopton thanks God 

For all the Faithful departed, 
For thy great Graces given unto them, 
Their good Example given to me ; 
For the Suffrages and Prayers of all Saints, 

For my Communion with them, and with all those of them who are at 
Prayers with me now in this holy Hour. 3 

This is akin to Johnson's thought just given above. 

We arrive now at the most barren portion of the research un 
dertaken for this chapter. There has been found, during our period, 
next to nothing of any practice of the invocation of saints by the 
people or of recommendation of it by authors. So that compared 
with the abundance of evidence for the practice of prayer for the 
faithful departed, the evidence for the practice of the invocation of 
departed saints may be counted as nothing. 

The following is almost the only instance of a direct address 
to the Saints that I have come across in our period. 

A book with the Lambeth Imprimatur has the following de 
votion " for the feast of Saints " : 

O happy Saints ! this broken rate 
Our slowness bids to ply its wings ; 

While your unwearied active state 
Does always wake and alwaies sings. 4 

Thus the invocation of the departed saints may be found hardly 
at all. That of angels seems to be allowed by the Psalms, and 
it is not so infrequent in our period. 

Mrs. Godolphin in a letter lamenting her imperfect preparation 
for the altar, but rejoicing in God's goodness, says : 

l BoswelVs Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. i. p. 235. 

2 Prayers and Meditations composed by Samuel Johnson, London, Cadell, 1785, 
p. 204. 

3 [Susanna Hopton,] A collection of Meditations and Devotions, London, Midwinter, 
I 7 I 7. P- 378. Set forth by Geo. Hickes and Nat. Spinckes. 

4 Reformed Devotions, in Meditations, sec. ed. London, 1687, p. 479. 


Jesu (said I,) how happy are wee, how blessed that have the Lord 
for our God. And you, blessed Angells, who are present at these assemblyes, 
admireing the heavenly bounty, I tell you I was even dissolved with love 
to God. 1 

At Winwick there was an epitaph upon the tomb of John Pitt, 
who died April 19, 1694 : 

a Loyal Subject and Souldier to K. Charles the Martyr, a frequenter 
of the Common Prayer and of the holy Sacrament a cordial Lover of his 
Freind To whom his usual farewell was God's holy Angell go along with you. 2 

Richard Baxter can hardly be quoted as representing the mind 
of the Church of England ; yet in his poems we come across ad 
dresses both to the angels and the departed. As follows : 

i. Ye holy Angels bright, \ 

Which stand before God's Throne, 
And dwell in glorious Light, 
Praise ye the Lord each one. 
You there so nigh 
Are much more meet 
Than we the feet, 
For things so high. 

2. You blessed Souls at Rest, 

That see your Saviours face, 
Whose Glory, even the least 
Is far above our Grace : 
God's Praises sound, 
As in his sight 
With sweet delight 
You do abound. 3 

This is from Theophilus Dorrington : 

Sing Praises, Oh ye glorious Hosts of Angels ! Produce your loftiest 
Hymns and help ! Oh help poor feeble Mortals to praise the Son of God. 4 

Bishop Ken, in his morning and evening hymns, addresses the 
Angels and his Guardian especially. The verses are too well known 
to quote. 

In a book of prayers for the sick, the assistance of Angels is 
prayed for at the moment of death. 

Let thy blessed Angels stand in ministry about thy servant ; and defend 

1 The life of Mrs. Godolphin by John Evelyn, London, Sampson Low, 1888, p. 169. 

2 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, Oxford Historical Society, 1898, vol. 
iv. p. ii. 

3 Richard Baxter, Poetical Fragments, London, Simmons, 1681, p. 84. 

4 Theophilus Dorrington, A Familiar Guide to the Right and Profitable Receiving 
of the Lord's Supper, London, Aylmer, 1695, p. 73. 


him from the violence, and malice of all his ghostly Enemies ; and drive 
far from hence all the Spirits of Darkness. 1 

Amongst the Prayers towards Bedtime in Bryan Duppa's devo 
tions we find this prayer to God : 

Give thy Angels charge over me, that the Spirits of darkness may not 
come near me. 2 

The year after his death in 1826 there was published a col 
lection of hymns which are avowedly written for use in public wor 
ship, and put forth with the name of Reginald Heber, Bishop of 
Calcutta. One of them contains the prayer to Almighty God. 

May Thine Angel guards defend us. 3 

But all these are little more than we pray for in the collect on 
Michaelmas day. More direct is the following. 

The Spectator has this invocation : 

Ye guardian Angels, to whose Care Heaven has intrusted its dear 
Emilia, guide her still forward in the Paths of Virtue, defend her from the 
Insolence and Wrongs of this undiscerning World ; at length when we must 
no more converse with such Purity on Earth, lead her gently hence innocent 
and unreprovable to a better Place, where by an easy Transition from what 
she now is, she may shine forth an Angel of Light. 4 

Fielding's Amelia when taking leave of her husband is another 
instance of an attempt at the invocation of angels : 

" Go, my dear husband," cried she, falling upon her knees, " may every 
angel of heaven guard and preserve you." 5 

When Tom Jones has to take leave of Sophia, he ends his 
letter thus : 

May guardian angels protect you for ever. 6 

One young lady writing to another in Sir Charles Grandison 
ends the letter : 

Adieu, my dearest Harriet. May angels protect and guide you, 
whithersoever you go ! 7 

1 A daily office for the sick, London, Clavell, 1694, p. 86. From Bp. Taylor : in m. 

2 Bryan Duppa, Holy Rules and Helps to Devotion, London, Hensman, 1675, p. 191. 

3 Reginald Heber, Hymns written and adapted to the weekly church service of the 
year, London, John Murray, 1827, p. 147. 

4 Spectator, No. 302, Friday, February 15, 1711-12. 

5 H. Fielding, Amelia, Book III, ch. i. in Works, ed. by Murphy and Browne, 
London, 1871, vol. viii. p. 254. 

6 History of Tom Jones, Book VI. ch. xii. Edition as above, vol. vi. p. 342. 
7 Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, Bart. vol. i. Letter i. 
London, Chapman and Hall, 1902, vol. i. p. 3. 




THE devotional books most in use during our period may be 
judged of in two ways : in one, by the number of editions that come 
from the press ; in the other, by what we find spoken of by con 
temporary authors as popular, or enumerated in the list of books 
possessed by well-disposed people, as in use by them. Farther on 
it may be convenient to discuss apart the custom of translating and 
adapting foreign books, especially Roman Catholic books, for the use 
of Churchmen. 

The catalogues spoken of in this chapter are those of the British 
Museum and the Bodleian Library. It is from one or both of these 
that are drawn the numbers of the editions of the books that are 
spoken of. 

It seems likely that the Whole Duty of Man was the most popular 
book of devotion that England has known. It appeared just before 
the Restoration, and continued to be published in edition after edition 
until 1832, and indeed after our period had ended. Its title was 
imitated, a sure sign of popularity : the Whole Duty of Woman ; the 
Whole Duty of a Christian ; the Whole Duty of a Communicant ; the 
Whole Duty of Prayers ; the Whole Duty of Mourning. It was a 
High Church book, recommended by Johnson ; 1 but blamed by the 
Low Churchman, Cowper ; because when on the verge of insanity he 
failed to recover his senses by using its prayers, he declared it to be 
a "repository of [self- righteousness and pharisaical lumber". 2 With 
a good deal of plausibility the authorship has been attributed to 
Richard Allestree, assisted by Fell and Hammond, 3 who had all 
suffered for their constancy to the Church during the Rebellion. 

1 Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. G. B. Hill, Clarendon Press, 1887, vol. iv. p. 311. 
With it he recommends Nelson and Law. 

2 Robert Southey, The Life and Works of William Cowper, London, Baldwin and 
Cradock, 1835, vol P- "6. 

8 Charles E. Doble, Academy, 1882, vol. xxii. pp. 348, 364, 382. 



Next in popularity was a Week's preparation towards a worthy 
receiving of the Lords Supper , which was licensed in 1678 ; the fifty- 
second edition appeared in a fresh issue in 1764. And beyond. This 
also was a High Church book and was attacked with asperity by 
Hoadly, with other High Church books of devotion, for insist 
ing upon a certain amount of preparation before Communion, and 
recommending devotions which indicated a belief in the Real 
Presence. 1 

During our period it may well be believed that Robert Nelson's 
Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England was 
an extremely popular book of devotion. The thirty-second edition 
in 1815 is recorded in the Bodleian Catalogue. In 1776 Boswell 
says that he understands the work has had " the greatest sale of any 
book ever printed in England, except the Bible ". 2 Most likely 
there is here some exaggeration ; but the sale was no doubt great. 

Dr. Edward Lake, who had charge of the education of the Lady 
Mary and the Lady Anne, daughters of King James the Second, 
who afterwards both became Queens of England, published in 1673 
his Officium Eucharisticum as a guide to his royal pupils, when ap 
proaching the altar, and at other times. Between 1673 an d 1753 
there can be reckoned up thirty editions. The book is plainly a 
High Church book : it recommends confession before communion, 
communion before all food, reverences to be made to the altar, 
attendance at daily service, and the like. 

Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying also enjoyed a great 
popularity. In apprehension of the Day of Judgement, Swift makes 
the Maids of Honour buy each of them a Bible, and Taylor's Holy 
Living and Dying? which is a testimony to the latter's every-day 
use. Of devotional books in the library of the lady that affects learn 
ing, there is beside a Prayer book and Sherlock upon Death, only 
Taylor's Holy Living and Dying* Twenty-eight editions had ap 
peared in 1810 and two more by 1826. It does not seem extra 
vagant to reckon this book amongst High Church publications. 

Denis Granville, Dean of Durham, advising his nephew on the 

1 [Benjamin Hoadly,] An apologetical Defence, or a Demonstration of the Usefulness 
and Expediency of . . .A Plain Account, London, 1735, pp. 15-34. 

2 Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. by George Birkbeck Hill, Clarendon Press, 1887, 
vol. ii. p. 458, A.D. 1776, March 22. 

Z A true and faithful narrative of what passed in London, in Works of Jonathan 
Swift, ed. Walter Scott, Edinburgh, Constable, 1814, vol. xiii. p. 299. 
4 Spectator, No. 37, April 12, 1711. 



practice of meditation, suggests to him the use of Ars cogitandi 
and of Ars meditandi by Bartholomew Riccius, a Jesuit ; but the 
latter book was to be used with great caution. Further the Sancta 
Sophia of Father Baker, a Benedictine monk, but this also with great 
wariness, 1 because some of his writings were " very enthusiastical ". 
In fact, they were accused of Quietism. 

Some fifteen years after his death an unfounded accusation was 
made upon the memory of Dr. Butler, the author of the Analogy, 
by insinuating or rather asserting that he died a Papist, and they 
fortified what they said 

from the natural melancholy and gloominess of Dr. Butler's disposition ; 
from his great fondness for the lives of Romish Saints, and their books of 
mystic piety. 2 

As they made a great point in their accusation of Dr. Butler's 
having a cross over the altar in his private chapel, which is admitted 
to be true, so this minor item in the attack, of being fond of Romish 
books of devotion may by chance prove true also. But it shows 
nothing, unless it be admitted that almost all Churchmen in this 
period were popishly inclined from the Roman books they so abund 
antly used. 

Johnson also recommended one of the classics of the language, 
William Law's Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. This again 
was very widely read, but its aim is not so much to deepen the 
spiritual life as to awaken it. Law recommends the keeping of 
Terce, Sext, and None, the Canonical Hours of Prayer, at 9 a.m., 
mid-day, and 3 p.m., a practice of frequent prayer which was not at 
all unknown in our period. For, after the Directions for Night 
Prayers in the Whole Duty of Man, it is remarked that 

In the Antient Church there were, besides morning and night, four 
other times every day, which were called Hours of Prayer ; and the zeal 
of those first Christians was such, as made them constantly observed . . . 
I cannot but mention the example, and say, that for those, who are not 
by very necessary business prevented, it will be but reasonable to imitate it. 

Devotions for these Hours of Prayer had indeed been already 
provided by Dr. John Cosin, who at the Restoration became Bishop 

1 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, xlvii. p. 67. It is printed 
" weariness," I presume "wariness" is meant. It cannot be too carefully remembered 
in reading eighteenth century writings that enthusiasm means fanaticism, not zeal or 

2 Samuel Halifax, Works . . . of Joseph Butler, Oxford, University Press, 1836, 
vol. i. p. xxxv. of notes to the preface. 


of Durham, having suffered greatly for his constancy in the In 
terregnum. His Collection of private devotions or the Houers of Prayer 
after the manner of the primer, went through numerous editions : the 
ninth appeared in 1693. Theophilus Dorrington's Reformed De 
votions "disposed into the form and method of the Roman 
Breviary" went through nine editions between 1686 and 1727. 

Mrs. Hopton's Devotions in the Ancient Way of Offices appeared 
in eight editions from 1700 to I765. 1 There can be little doubt that 
the Devotions of John Austin, a Roman Catholic book with almost 
the same title, have been copied and in fact almost reproduced. 

Her meditations, which only went through the one edition of 
1717, contained prayers for the Third Hour (to the Holy Ghost), for 
the Sixth Hour (on the Passion) and the Ninth Hour (on the Death 
of our Lord). 2 The members of Horneck's Religious Society were 
"to pray, if possible, seven times a day". 3 

There is a work attributed to the Rev. William Howell which 
was licensed by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford 
on December 24, 1685, and the seventeenth edition of which ap 
peared in 1734, called: 

The Common- Prayer- Book the Best companion in the House and 
Closet, as well as in the Temple. 

To which there is added " a particular office for the Sacrament ". 
The body of the work contains nothing but prayers taken from the 
Common Prayer chosen with much judgement and skill. Besides 
prayers for morning and night, there is a long office for noon. It 
was one of the books which George Fleming took with him to 
Oxford in i688. 4 

While such books as these were in wide circulation it can hardly 
have been that a good church tone was wanting among the faithful 
laity. It has been said that if you will let me write the songs of a 
nation, I care not who makes its laws ; and this may be repeated, 
contrasting prayers and sermons. Let who will preach sermons if 
I may write the prayers of the people. 

People seem to have written out their own prayers and said 

1 Edgar Hoskins, Horae Beatae Marine Virginis, Longmans, 1901, pp. xxi. go, 317, 

2 [Susannah Hopton,]/! Collection of Meditations and Devotions, London, Midwinter, 
1717. Edited by George Hickes and Nathaniel Spinckes. 

3 See above, Appendix to ch. ix. p. 309. 

4 J. R. Magrath, The Flemings in Oxford, Oxford Historical Society, 1913, vol. ii. 
p. 213. 


these, instead of betaking themselves in all cases to the printed 
books. The most famous of these is Dr. Johnson's Prayers and 
Meditations, which, had he not previously given them to Strahan, 
might well have perished in the great burning of papers which took 
place shortly before his death. 1 They are important as they show 
Johnson's practice of prayer for the departed. There is another 
collection of inedited devotions in the British Museum, MS. Add. 
14,404, left behind by one Daniel Turner who was a licentiate of 
the Royal College of Physicians of London and who died in 1741. 
His manuscript is of some interest as showing the private devotions 
of a layman. He has Thanksgiving for the recovery of a sick 
person committed to his care : 2 prayer upon the anniversary of 
baptism, 3 heads for self-examination, prayers for Lent, Passion 
week, Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas. He prays as " being 
now spiritually to partake of thy Flesh and Blood". 4 He recites 
Agnus Dei immediately before Communion, and he has " a prayer 
to be recited at the Bedside by a Freindf, in the Absence of my 
Spiritual Guidf, when Death approaches". 

Lady Maynard, whom Ken directed, followed the same practice 
of committing her devotions to writing. Ken, in his sermon at her 
death, speaks thus : 

Her oratory was the place, where she principally resided, and where 
she was most at home, and her chief employment, was prayer, and praise. 
Out of several authors, she for her own use transcribed many excellent 
forms, the very choice of which does argue a most experienced piety, she 
had devotions suited to all the primitive hours of prayer, which she used, 
as far as her bodily infirmities, and necessary avocations would permit, and 
with " David, praised God seven times a day," or supplied the want of those 
solemn hours by a kind of perpetuity of ejaculations. 5 

There is amongst my books a manuscript which deserves far 
more attention than I am able to give to it here. It appears to 
have been drawn out about 1692 by the Rev. Samuel Woodeford, 
F.R.S., canon of Chichester and also of Winchester. He died in 
1700. The title of the manuscript is Precum Privatarum Horar- 
ium ad usum Ecclesiae Primitivae. The basis of the work is the 
psalter, divided into canonical hours for every day in the week, with 
additions of hymns, prayers, and litanies. The Breviary has evi- 

l BoswelVs Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, Oxford, 1887, vol. iv. p. 405. 

3fo. 22. 3 fo. 24. 4 fo. ig6. 

5 Thomas Ken, Sermon preached at the funeral of the Right Hon. The Lady 
Margaret Mainard, at little Easton, in Essex, June 30, 1682, in The Prose Works of 
Thomas Ken, edited by J. T. Round, London, Rivington, 1838, p. 130. 


dently inspired this work, which, however, is far from being a mere 
transcription of the Breviary. 

Affixed to the end of a folio edition of the Common Prayer in 
the Bodleian Library (Shelf Mark : C. P. 1686. c. I.) formerly be 
longing to Dr. Edward Bernard, Savilian Professor of Astronomy, 
is a manuscript addition of eleven leaves ; the size of this addi 
tion is 6| inches by 4^. It is taken from the Woodeford manu 
script of which I have just spoken, but only the cues or incipits are 
given. Apparently the two are in the same hand, very likely that 
of Samuel Woodeford. 

Into this Prayer Book, Dr. Edward Bernard has copied out a 
number of private prayers. The margins of the collects are filled 
with the corresponding collects from the Gregorian Sacramentary, 
and on the fly-leaves are written his own private devotions, some 
of which may have a source akin to those of Merlo von Horst's 
Paradisus Animae Christiana*. There are hymns of Prudentius; 
also extracts from the Sacramentarium Bobbiense. At the end of 
the book are additions in manuscript, one of which has been spoken 
of above. 

To consider now the lists of books of devotion which are found 
in use by well-disposed people. For instance George Fleming in 
1688 takes with him to Oxford 1 

i Common -Prayer Book. 

i Dr. Ken's Exposition of the Church Catechism, 
i The Common-Prayer Book the best companion, 
i Rules for our more Devout Behaviour in the time of Divine service 
of the Church of England. 

These Rules went through fifteen editions at least and contain 
time-tables for the daily services in the London churches. The 
Common Prayer Book the best Companion has been spoken of just 

Ambrose Bonwicke, a conforming Nonjuror, when a scholar at 
St. John's College Cambridge about 1710, had Lake's Officium 
Eucharisticum, Thomas a Kempis' de imitatione Christi, the Whole 
Duty of Man, some pieces of Kettlewell, Brome of Fasting, and 
almost all Nelson's Festivals and Fasts? 

Fielding makes the pious footman, Joseph Andrews, read the 

1 J. R. Magrath, The Flemings in Oxford, Oxford Historical Society, 1913, vol. ii. p. 

"Life of Ambrose Bonwicke by his father, edited by John E. B. Mayor, Cambridge, 
Deighton Bell, 1870, pp. 19, 20, 53. 


Bible, the Whole Duty of Man, and Thomas a Kempis : but Tom 
Jones had never before seen Thomas a Kempis when the book was 
offered to him. 1 This is quite in accordance with the character 
given him by the novelist. 

Clarissa Harlowe's sister comes to spy upon her under pretence 
of borrowing a Thomas a Kempis. In the den into which she is 
lured, and to give some pretence of respectability to it, she finds : 

Stanhope's gospels; Sharpe's [Abp. of York], Tillotson's [Abp. of 
Canterbury], and South's sermons; Nelson's Feasts and Fasts; a sacra 
mental piece of the Bishop of Man, [Thomas Wilson] and another of Dr. 
Gauden, Bishop of Exeter [The whole duty of a communicant} and Innett's 
[John Inett] Devotions. 2 

In January, 1735, John Byrom buys Thomas a Kempis for 
15 shillings, St. Austin's Meditations for 35. 6d., both old 
editions. Ken's Catechism and Sparks on the Liturgy for a shilling 
each. This last I take to be Edward Sparkes' Scintillula Altaris, 
first published in 1652. Before this, in 1729, he had bought Law's 
Serious Call. In 1731 he buys Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Ex 
ercises ; Albert the Great's Paradise of the Soul in English ; and 
in 1735 Bona's Christian Principles for 4d. At another time he 
reads Thomas a Kempis a good deal. 3 

But on the other hand, describing a simple sort of person it is 
said : " her reading has been wholly confined to her Psalter and 
Bible, a few devotional tracts and some sermons ". 4 The Psalter 
and Bible would indeed be the best kind of reading for such a 
person, and it is a pity that they are not now recommended with 
such insistence as formerly. 

Dr. Johnson's Prayer Book was Bryan Duppa's Holy Rules and 
Helps to Devotion. An edition of 1673 is in the British Museum 
and one labelled the 7th appeared in 1704. More were issued in 
1817 and 1818. Duppa quotes Bonaventure, St. Bernard, and the 
fathers, and takes antiquity as his guide. Johnson laid aside 
Thomas a Kempis because the main design of it was to promote 

1 Henry Fielding, The History of the Ad-ventures of Joseph Andrews, Book I. ch. 
iii. The History of Tom Jones, Book VII. ch. v. ed. Murphy and Browne, Bickers, 1871, 
vol. v. p. 28, vol. vi. p. 463. 

2 Samuel Richardson, Clarissa Harlowe, Tauchnitz, 1862, vol. i. Letter Ixxv. p. 
329 and vol. ii. Letter lix. p. 192. 

3 The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom, ed. by Richard 
Parkinson for the Chetham Society, 1855, Vol. I. part ii. 

4 Mrs. Charlotte Lennox, Euphemia, London, Cadell, 1790, vol. i. Letter vi. 
p. 189. 


monastic piety, 1 and thus it was not so useful for persons living in 
the world. 

The practice of adapting Roman Catholic books of devotion or of 
spiritual reading for the use of Church of England people, was de 
nounced with no small vigour a few years after our period had 
closed. It seems strange that the great abundance of Roman books 
which had been translated and adapted should have been unknown, 
and the considerable Church authority which sanctioned the practice 
should have been then forgotten, or no pains taken to look into the 
facts. Nor was the recommendation of Hannah More, the testi 
mony of a firm Protestant, remembered. In the book, then recent, 
written in view of the education of Princess Charlotte, she writes that 

The errors of the Romish church were to be rejected, but the trea 
sures of ancient piety which she possessed, were not to be abandoned. 
Her formularies contained devotional compositions, not more venerable 
for their antiquity than valuable for their intrinsic excellence, being at once 
simple and energetic, perspicuous and profound. 2 

At the end of the eighteenth century, the alliance between the 
Prayer Book and the Roman Liturgy was well known, and con 
sidered a great merit. 

Hence the resemblance between the English Liturgy and the Romish 
Breviary, which Ignorance with her usual petulance, is ever forward to 
object to the Church of England, is, in effect highly honourable to her, 
inasmuch as it shows her reverence for primitive antiquity. 3 

We see how far we have moved from the Puritan times of the 
seventeenth century when the discovery that a portion of the Prayer 
Book was akin to the Mass book was enough to raise a cry for the 
immediate discontinuance of the former. 

There is a little book of prayers published in 1822 with no 
markedly High Church tendency, for in the Instructions for Com 
munion it omits the word sacrifice in the answer to the question 
Why was the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ordained? which in 
this work runs For the continual remembrance of the death of Christ, 
not the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the Death of Christ. 
Yet among the prayers after communion there is a free adaptation 
of the well-known prayer attributed to St. Thomas in the Reformed 

1 Sir John Hawkins, The Life of Samuel Johnson, London, 1787, p. 543. 

2 Hints towards forming the character of a young Princess, ch. xxxvii. in Works, 
Fisher and Jackson, 1834, v l- iv. p. 355. 

3 Gentleman's Magazine, 1795, vol. Ixv. September, p. 727. 


Roman Missal, among the Orationes post Mzssam, which begins 
Gratias tibi ago Domine. l 

Thomas a Kempis must be held as common to all Christians and 
the translations into English are numerous in our period. That of 
Stanhope, the Dean of Canterbury, seems to have produced a large 
number of editions. Between 1698 and 1814 there were nineteen 
issues of his translation. WiMymott published a version in 1722. 
John Wesley translated the first three books by themselves in 1735, 
an edition which continued to appear as long as 1806. The fourth 
book, on the Sacrament of the Altar, he published separately as a 
Companion to the Altar extracted from Thomas a Kempis, and the 
fifth edition appeared in 1755. Of the translation of John Payne, a 
mystic, apparently undenominational, there appeared five editions in 
our period. Dibdin in 1828 brought out a translation with John 
Payne's preface. There are further editions, anonymous, but to no 
great number. The editions in English printed abroad, or by Roman 
Catholics in England, have not here been noticed. But it may be 
repeated that the de Imitatione is indeed not to be confined to any 
body of Christians, if we omit the fourth book, which might be dis 
liked by a Zwinglian. 

Cardinal Bona's Manuductio ad Caelum was translated into 
English by Sir Roger L'Estrange, and published in 1672. The 
sixth edition of the translation appeared in 1712. The original was 
turned into verse by a Baronet, Sir James Chamberlayne, and it 
appeared in 1681. 

Another work by the same Cardinal is : 

Precepts and Practical Rules for a truly Christian Life . . . Englished 
by L. B. London, Clark and Brome, 1678. 

This is dedicated to Thomas Ken, afterwards Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, and it has the imprimatur of Dr. Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop 
of Canterbury. 

The Principles of Christianity ', written originally in Latin by John 
Bona, translated by T. E. Esq. was published by Joseph Hazard about 
1722, but I have never seen a copy. Nor of the Evangelical In 
stitutions by the pious Cardinal Bona, London, 1719. 

Henry Dodwell, the elder, translated and adapted St. Francis of 
Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. I have not found it in either 
catalogue. Hearne speaks of it as follows : 

1 Devotions for duly receiving the Holy Sacrament, compiled by a Layman, London, 
Hatehard, 1822, p. 84. 


Sales' Introduction to a Devout Life came out in twelves in 1673, 
being printed at Dublin, with this Title : An Introduction to a Devout 
Life : containing especially, A prudent Method for Spiritual Closet-Exer 
cises, and Remedies against the Difficulties ordinarily occurring in the con 
duct of a pious Life. Fitted for the Use of Protestants. 

'Twas fitted by Mr. Dodwell, being done at the request of the Book 
seller. . . . The Preface contains 3 7 Leaves. 1 

Also in 1701, Nicholls turned into English and adapted the In 
troduction to a Devout Life of St. Francis of Sales. He prefixes a 
memorandum " of the rise and progress of Spiritual Books in the 
Romish Church," in which he speaks of 

the good Reception which Devotional Books have found in this Nation 
for some Years last past ; 

and he tells us that 

notwithstanding the great deserved aversion which the Nation has to 
Popery, yet the Books of Their Divines upon Devotional and Practical 
Subjects, have met with as favourable reception among Us, as if the Authors 
had been of a better Religion. 2 

He ends by saying : 

I think I have left nothing standing in this Edition, which is directly 
contrary to the Articles of our Church. 

The catalogue of the British Museum gives but two more editions 
of this translation ; in 1726, and 1741. 

Fenelon, the Archbishop of Cambray, must have been during 
our period a great favourite with Anglican translators and adapters. 

A long list of his works in English for devotional and spiritual 
reading is to be found in the catalogue of the British Museum, but 
only a few can here be noted, and these few will be limited to those 
which are clearly not the product of a Roman Catholic publisher. 

Most of these adaptations of Fenelon are in small bulk, as little 
books of devotion commonly are, to fit them for the pocket. But 
there is an exception which had better be considered first, the 
edition being in two volumes. 

Part of the spiritual works of the celebrated Francis Fenelon, Arch 
bishop of Cambray, author of Telemachus, &c. translated by Richard 
Houghton, late of the City of Dublin, Surgeon, in two volumes, 8 Dublin, 
Powell, 1771. 

A long list of subscribers, extending over 17 pages, precedes the 

1 Remarks and Collections of Thomas Hearne, ed. by C. E. Doble, Oxford, His 
torical Society, 1889, vol. iii. p. 258, Nov. 4, 1711. 

2 An Introduction to a Devout Life by Francis Sales, Bishop and Prince of Geneva, 
by William Nicholls, London, Bennet and Sprint, 1701. 


preface, and the translator tells us (p. iii.) that he is a member of the 
Church of England. 
There are also : 

Instructions for the education of a Daughter . . . Done into English 
and revised by Dr. G. Hickes, London, 1707, 12. 

Of this work editions were printed until 1812. That of Dr. 
Hickes continued to appear till 1750 at least. Dibdin, the biblio 
phile, published an edition at Cheltenham through H. Ruff in 1805. 

There is a Lenten book : 

The Christian Pilgrimage : or a Companion for the Holy Season of 
Lent : being meditations upon the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascen 
sion of ... Jesus Christ by the late . . . Mons. de Fenelon . . . Made 
English by Mrs. J[ane] Barker, etc. pp. vi. 152. E. Curll and C. Rivington : 
London, 1718. 12. 

The other works which appear under Mrs. Barker's name are 
not altogether of the same subject matter as the foregoing. 

Abel Boyer, born in France, but a journalist practising in Eng 
land, brought out in 1713 a translation of Fenelon's work, A Demon 
stration of the Existence, Wisdom^ and Omnipotence of God, dedicated 
to Dr. John Sharp, then Archbishop of York. This was reprinted 
at Glasgow in 1755. Three other editions also appeared in our 
period, the latest in 1821. 

The same prelate's Pious Reflections for every day in the Month, 
Englished, appeared in at least six editions between 1797 and 1818. 

Something of Fenelon's popularity in England may be due to 
his alliance with Madame Guyon and Quietism. The Society of 
Friends found certain parts of Fenelon's writings to their liking. 
Directions for a holy life seems to have been published by them three 
times at least between 1795 and 1829. One Martin, a Quaker, 
gave a copy to John Byrom in I736, 1 so that an edition approved 
by them must have appeared before this. 

Amongst the writers suspected by the Inquisition of Molinism 
was Pietro Matteo Petrucci, created a Cardinal in 1686 by Innocent 
the Eleventh. He died in 1701. His work on Christian perfection 
was brought out by Richard Smith at Bishop Beveridge's Head in 
Paternoster Row where the works of Bishop Bull, Bishop Beveridge, 
and other Anglican Divines were published. The Catalogue of 
the British Museum gives the title as follows : 

1 The Private Journal and Literary Remains of John Byrom, ed. by Richard 
Parkinson, Chetham Society, 1857, Vol H- P art P* 2 4- 


Christian Perfection, consisting in the love of God ; explain'd in several 
letters to a lady, &c. Written originally in Italian . . . now rendered into 
English, with an account of the author, . . . London, 1704. 8. 

The Discourse on Christian Perfection was published by W. 
Bray in 1711 bound up with the Works of Armand de Bourbon, 
Prince of Conti, which that Prince in the devotion of his later life 
had compiled. 

The Spiritual Combat of Lorenzo Scupoli was published in at 
least three English editions : one in 1742, a second in 1816, and a 
third in 1828. 

An unpromising author for adaptation by Anglicans would seem 
to offer himself in Bellarmine. Yet three of his books have been 
translated and adapted. 

Ouranography ; or, Heaven opened. The substance of Cardinal 
Bellarmine's Five Books concerning the Eternal Felicity of the Saints. 
Published in Latin . . . and now made English ... by B[enjamin] 
Jenks, London, 1710, 12. 

Another edition and translation is : 

The Joys of the Blessed ; being a practical discourse concerning the 
eternal happiness of the Saints in Heaven. Translated from the original 
Latin of Cardinal Bellarmin. By T. Foxton. With an essay upon the 
same subject, written by Mr. Addison. London, 1722. 8. 

The second work is : 

The Art of Dying Well. In two books. Written in Latin. Trans 
lated into English by J. Ball. With an addition of prayers suited to the 
subject of each chapter. London, 1720, 8. 

The third of Bellarmine's books is : 

Steps of ascension to God. Written Originally in Latin by ... 
Cardinal Bellarmine. Done into English by a divine of the Church of 
England [i.e. H. Hall] Second edition. London, 1705, 8. 

Still more unpromising would be the works of Father Robert 
Parsons, of the Company of Jesus. He left a book behind him 
with the title of a Christian Directory or Holy Resolutions, and it 
may seem that of all other works of devotion, a book by such a 
schemer and plotter might well be thought the least suitable aid for 
Anglican meditation. Yet Stanhope, the Dean of Canterbury, 
undertook to edit and adapt Parsons, making judicious alterations 
to accommodate it to the Anglican position. He explains his plan 
as follows : 

3. The Third are chiefly concerned in the Chapters of Faith, Good 
Works, and Purgatory ; wherein the Doctrines of the Romish Infallibility ; 


Satisfaction by Penance, and Alms ; and the temporal Punishment of Sins 
whose Eternal Punishment is remitted, are treated of, according to the 
Principles of this Father, and his Society. And herein I have cast out 
what was peculiar to the Romish Communion, and reserved so much only 
as might be supposed to come from the Pen of a Christian Priest at large. 
This I forsee is like to give greatest offence to a sort of Persons, whose 
eagerness for a Party in Religion disposes them to resent it very 
heinously, that we should pretend to enjoy the advantage of what makes 
for Christianity in common, without being content at the same time 
to swallow all that is interspersed for the Interest of some particular 
denomination of Christians. But I hope this will appear to be no un 
reasonable way of proceeding, when we have attended a little to the two 
following Arguments. 1 

At least five editions of this work appeared in the course of the 

Apparently Joseph Wasse did not scruple in his Reformed De 
votions to call in the aid of Foreign Ascetics, and his book was 
printed at the Theatre with the Imprimatur of the Vice-Chancellor 
of the University of Oxford in 1719. 

William Cowper cannot be accused of leanings to Rome ; yet in 
searching for materials for hymns he asks : 

Can there not be found among those translations of Madame Guyon 
somewhat that might serve the purpose ? 2 

Theophilus Dorrington's Reform d Devotions went through at 
least eight editions, which is some evidence of popularity. They 
contain versions of the old mediaeval hymns : Lauda Sion Salva- 
torem, Vexilla Regis, Veni Sancte Spiritus, etc. This reminds us 
that Dr. Johnson when repeating Dies irae, dies ilia could never pass 
Tantus labor non sit cassus without emotion. 3 

In a sermon before the University of Oxford on Innocents' day, 
1772, Dr. George Home, afterwards Bishop of Norwich, notes that 

The Christian poet, Prudentius, in one of his hymns, has an elegant 
and beautiful address to these young sufferers for their Redeemer 
Salvate^ florts Marty rum.^ 

And the preacher adds a version of the stanzas. 

1 [Robert] Parsons^ his Christian Directory, Being a treatise of Holy Resolution, 
London, Richard Sare, 1700, Preface. 

2 Private Correspondence of William Cowper, ed. John Johnson, London, Henry 
Colburn, 1824, vol. ii. p. 15, Aug. 17, 1785. 

8 Hesther Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, sec. ed. 1786, p. 200. 
4 George Home, Discourses on Several Subjects and Occasions, third ed. London, 
1799, vol. i. p. 292. 



IT has been thought well to add a chapter upon church vest 
ments between the Restoration and the Oxford Movement be 
cause it has been suggested that the subject of Ecclesiastical 
vestments disappeared from sight after 1662, and that "no more 
was heard of the matter until the ' Oxford movement' in the iQth 
century". 1 If we take this to mean that the matter was wholly 
forgotten, assent can hardly be given to such a proposition. The 
matter is discussed by almost as many writers as there are decades 
between 1660 and 1833. With only two exceptions authors de 
clare that the rubric means what it says, that it directs the use of 
the ornaments of the first book of King Edward the Sixth. The 
two excepted authors hold that the Edwardine vestments may be 
strictly legal, but they have fallen into desuetude, and thus no clergy 
man can be required to wear them. 

In dealing with our period we may begin with Dr. Matthew 
Wren, Bishop of Ely, who was a prisoner for near twenty years in 
the Tower under Cromwell. When the Prayer Book had to be re 
vised after the Restoration, the Bishop wrote out a paper of notes 
which was only published in 1874, by Dr. Jacobson, then Bishop 
of Chester. Dr. Wren seems to think that at that moment, before 
the Act of 1662, the Ornaments of the First Book of King Edward 
were the lawful ones ; but to avoid dispute he advises that a new 
rubric should be made : 

But what is now fit to be ordered herein, and to preserve those that 
are still in use, it would [should] be set down in express words, without 
those uncertainties which breed nothing but debate and scorn. The very 
words too, of that Act, 2. Edw. VI, for the Minister's Ornaments, would 

1 See the article on Vestments, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Cambridge, 191 1, 
eleventh edition, p. 1060; col. ii. 



[should] be set down, or to pray to have a new one made ; for there is 
somewhat in that Act that now may not be used. 1 

The Bishop pleads for a definition of the ornaments : either in 
" the very words " of the Act that is, to print the rubric as it stands 
in the Book of King Edward ; or else to have a new direction 
made. There is more than somewhat in the Act which may not 
now be used ; rites as well as ornaments and ceremonies. 

In 1660, from the mention of the King it would appear to be 
after the Restoration, a pamphlet came out, written, it is said, 
by Cornelius Burges, which acknowledged the legality of the orna 
ments of the First Book of King Edward, but at the same time asked 
to have a liberty granted in using these ornaments ; perhaps more 
than liberty in using them may be suspected ; it is their abolition 
that is wished for. 

4. The Book of Common Prayer of 2. Edw. 6. is in some things re 
ferred to, and particularly as to Ornaments and Rites % both by the Rubrick 
before Morning-Prayer in the present Liturgy ; and by the Stat. of i . Eliz. 
2. So that, as to this point, so much of the first Book is still in force by 
Law. 2 

The opinions of this writer may be judged by the vehement 
objections made to Surplices, Copes, Cross in Baptism, Kneeling at 
the Communion, Marriage with the Ring, etc. 3 Thus his acknow 
ledgement of the legality of the ornaments of the First Book is 
given against the grain. 

The exceptions against the Book of Common Prayer presented at 
the Savoy Conference, after quoting the Ornaments Rubric, add : 

Forasmuch as this rubrick seemeth to bring back the cope, albe, &c., 
and other vestments forbidden by the Common Prayer Book, 5 and 6 Edw. 
VI. and so our reasons alledged against ceremonies under our eighteenth 
general exception, we desire it may be wholly left out. 4 

Richard Baxter, writing in 1670, setting down what he held to 
be the most necessary Alterations of the Liturgy ', has amongst others : 

1 William Jacobson, Fragmentary Illustrations of the History of the Book of 
Common Prayer, London, Murray, 1874, p. 56. There is a reference on p. 109 to the 
Coronation of King Charles the Second ; and it is evident that the Bishop had seen the 
alterations made in the Prayer Book of 1662 from his remarks that which has been 
often turned into who and congregation into church. Thus it would seem that the 
four paragraphs which end the book were written some time after the earlier part of 
the book. 

2 [Cornelius Burges,] Reasons shewing the Necessity of Reformation, . . . by 
divers Ministers, London, Cottrel, 1660, p. 38. See also p. 4. 

3 See p. 33, and passim. 

4 Edward Cardwell, History of Conferences, Oxford, 1841, sec. ed. p. 314. 


The Kubrick for the old Ornaments, which were in use in the second 
year of Edw. VI. put out. 1 

It would not be necessary to put out the Rubric for the old 
Ornaments if it did not legalise them. 

A sort of society for the discussion of ecclesiastical questions 
was formed at Durham before the Revolution, and amongst other 
matters discussed was the Ornaments Rubric : 

Be it enacted that such ornaments of the Church^ and of the Ministers 
thereof^ shall be retained and be in use, as was in this Church of England, 
by the authority of Parliament^ in the id year of the Reign of King Edward 
the 6th. <5rv. 

What were these Ornaments ? Ans. Vide Statute. 2 

The Statute is that of the Second of Edward the Sixth in the 
opinion of the answerer : the Advertisements of Elizabeth are not 
thought of by him ; the matter seems to him quite simple ; he con 
siders, that it is the Statute that is the sole rule. 

Much the same is the opinion of William Watson whose book 
on Clergyman's Law went through at least five editions in the 
eighteenth century. He speaks dubiously of the authority by which 
James the First made alterations and additions to the Book of 
Common Prayer; but such were confirmed in 1662. But the 
Ornaments Rubric of 1662 is given as it stands, without any gloss 
upon it from Queen Elizabeth's advertisements. 3 

In the first decade of the eighteenth century Dr. Thomas Bennet, 
speaking of the Ornaments Rubric, after quoting the Rubric of 
Edward the Sixth's first book, says : 

From hence it seems to follow, that the present Rubric, and that of 
Queen Elizabeth, which are in effect the very same, do restore those Orna 
ments, which were abolish'd by King Edward the Second's Book, [i.e. Ed 
ward the Sixth's Second Book] and which indeed have been disus'd ever 
since that time. But it must be consider'd, that in the latter Part of the 
Act for Uniformity, I. Eliz. there is this Clause. 

Then he quotes the clause, giving authority to the Queen to 
take other order : and he proceeds : 

Now such other order was accordingly taken by the Queen in the year 
1564, which was the seventh of Her Reign. For she did then, with the 

1 Reliquiae Baxterianae, ed. Matthew Sylvester, London, Parkhurst, etc. Part III. 
p. 39 (falsely so numbered ; it should be p. 30). See Contents, Part III. written for the 
most part in the year 1670 at the beginning of the volume. 

2 The Remains of Denis Granville, Surtees Society, 1865, vol. xlvii. p. 174. 

3 William Watson, The Clergy-Man's Law, London, John Place, 1701, p. 243. 

2 3 


Advice of her Ecclesiastical Commissioners, particularly the then Metro 
politan Dr. Matthew Parker, publish certain Advertisements, wherein are 
the following Directions. 

He then prints the well-known Advertisements, and the Canon 
of 1603. Then he says : 

From hence 'tis plain, that the Parish Priests (and I take no notice of 
the Case of others) are oblig'd to no other Ornaments, but Surplices, and 
Hoods. For these are authentic Limitations of the Rubric, which seems'to 
require all such Ornaments as were in Use in the second Year of King 
Edward's Reign. 

Besides, since from the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's Reign down to 
our own Times, the Disuse of 'em has most notoriously been allow'd ; 
therefore, tho' it were not strictly reconcilable with the Letter of the Rubric, 
yet we cannot be suppos'd to lie under any Obligation to restore the use of 
them. And indeed, if that Practice which our Governors do openly and 
constantly permit and approve, be not admitted for a good Interpretation 
of Laws whether Ecclesiastical or Civil ; I fear, it will be impossible to clear 
our hands of many other Repugnances, of different kinds, besides this now 
under Debate. 1 

From this last sentence it is plain that Dr. Bennet saw quite 
clearly the amount of law-breaking that was going on around him in 
the Church ; and he refers often in the rest of his book to the tacit 
permission of questionable practices by the Governors of the Church, 
as if this ''Living Voice of the Church" overrode the written law. 
This is Ultramontanism, but it is not the English interpretation of 
statute law, even if it be that of canon law. 

Bingham has some remarks on the Ornaments Rubric which he 
quotes at length and which he interprets as directing the clergy to 
the first Book of Edward the Sixth. But unluckily, he does not 
seem to be acquainted with the Rubric of the first Book which deals 
with the vestment or cope, alb, and tunicle, but only with that at 
the end of the Book, in Certain Notes, which prescribes the surplice 
for Mattins and Evensong, Baptizing and Burying. 2 This imperfect 
information rather lames his conclusion that the surplice and hood 
are the only ornaments for the " private minister " ; while the Bishop 
is allowed a surplice or alb, and a cope or vestment. It may be 
feared that we have before us not Mr. Baxter's great Mistake about 
the Ornaments of the 2nd year of King Edward, but that of another 
writer, namely, Bingham himself. 

1 Thomas Bennet, A Paraphrase with Annotations upon the Book of Common Prayer, 
sec. ed. London, Knapton, 1709, pp. 2-7. 

2 Joseph Bingham, The French Churches Apology for the Church of England, Book 
III. ch. vii. London, Knaplock, 1706, p. 131. 


It seems likely that John Johnson, the learned author of the Un 
bloody Sacrifice, had at one time fallen into the same error as Bing- 
ham in his judgement on the first book of King Edward. He begins 
by quoting the rubric of that book ; and then adds : 

1 find that others, as well as I, have supposed, that all the Ornaments 
injoin'd to Ministers, by the 2d. \thus\ Book published in the 2d of Edw. 
VI. and consequently by our present Liturgy, were the Surplice for the 
Priest^ the Rochet ', Alb and Cope for the Bishop. The occasion of this Mis 
take was, that we look'd no further, than to that long Rubric at the end 
of that Book ; but by a more diligent perusal of the Communion Office, it 
appears that the Cope is enjoin'd to the celebrating Priest, Albs and Tunides 
to the attending Clergymen. 1 

Apparently John Johnson took Cope to mean the same as Vest 

Nicholls prints a long note upon the Rubric, a note too long 
for all of it to be reproduced here : 

So that by this Act, we are sent to enquire into the Rubricks of King 
Edwartfs first Common-Prayer-Book, for the Habits in which Ministers 
are to Officiate. 

He then gives the rubric of Edward the Sixth's first book, 
but only that in Certain Notes ; thus he seems to fall into the 
same error as Bingham : and the Act of Elizabeth empowering the 
Queen to take other order : of which he says : 

Which last Clause, whether it be a Qualification personally Empowering 
this Queen, and dying with her ; or a declarative only of the Regal Power, 
antecedently inherent in her, and derivable upon her Successors; has 
afforded matter of much Dispute. 2 

This question does not affect his interpretation of the Rubric ; 
and he passes on to describe the surplice, alb, hood, rochet, and cope. 

But Charles Wheatly, the well-known author of the Rationale 
of the Book of Common Prayer, commenting on the second part of 
the ornaments rubric, writes thus : 

By the Ornaments of the Church and the Ministers thereof mention'd in 
the second part of this Kubrick, it is plain from the Rubrick it self, we are 
to understand such as were prescrib'd by the first Common-Prayer Book of 
K. Edward the Sixth. 3 

1 [John Johnson,] The Clergy-man's Vade-Mecum, third ed. ch. iv. London, 1709, 
p. 21, note. 

2 William Nicholls, A Comment on the Book of Common Prayer, London, 1710, 
Sheet O, leaf i. 

8 Charles Wheatly, The Church of England Man's Companion, Oxford, 1710, p. 32. 
Words to the same effect are continued in Dr. Corrie's Cambridge edition of 1858, but 


Gibson, Bishop of London, the well-known ecclesiastical his 
torian, adds this note to the rubric of Elizabeth : 

Until other order] which other Order (at least in the method prescribed 
by this Act) was never yet made ; and therefore legally, the Ornaments of 
the Ministers in performing Divine Service, are the same now as they were 
in 2. E. 6. 1 

Gibson marks the rubric of Edward the Sixth as obsolete, 2 but 
not the rubric of Charles the Second of 1662. 

Thomas Sharp, 3 Archdeacon of Northumberland and Official 
to the Dean and Chapter of Durham, declares that : 

The use of hoods, and disuse of copes and tunicles, are now so notor 
iously and universally allowed of by the Ordinaries, that, although neither 
of them could in strictness be reconciled with the letter of the Rubric, yet 
we are not bound, at this time, to make any alteration in our practice. 

A little below he speaks of a curious custom in the diocese of 
Durham introduced, he says, by Bishop Cosin which may be here 
mentioned, viz. The constant use of the surplice by all Preachers in 
pulpits. It is quite decent, he thinks, but we are not bound to it. 

And another writer in the middle of the eighteenth century ad 
heres to the opinion that the Ornaments Rubric prescribes the 
Ornaments of Edward the Sixth's first book. After Nicholls, he 
says : 

So that by this Act, we are sent to enquire into the Rubricks of King 
Edward's first Common-Prayer-Book, for the Habits in which Ministers are 
to officiate. And among them we find these Rules. 4 

He then gives the rubric of Certain Notes of Edward the Sixth's 
first book. 

An anonymous writer of the same period, whose notes are still 

he dissents, if I judge aright, in a note (p. 92) though he still observes that the rubric 
as it now stands was re-adopted in 1661 after it had been superseded by the Advertise 
ments. In another place, too, Dr. Corrie seems to attempt to negative in the notes 
what his author says in the text. 

1 Edmund Gibson, Codex luris Ecclesiastici Anglicani, London, Baskett and 
Whitledge, 1713, vol. i. p. 363. This is repeated in the edition of 1761, p. 297. 

*ibid. p. 472, sec. ed. p. 390. 

8 Thomas Sharp, The Rubric in the Book of Common Prayer and the Canons, 
London, Knapton, 1753, p. 246. Because Dr. John Sharp, the Archbishop of York in 
Queen Anne's time, preferred the first book of King Edward to the present Communion 
Office (The life of John Sharp D.D. Lord Archbishop of York, collected by Thomas 
Sharp, London, Rivington, 1825, vol. i. p. 355), it by no means follows that he thought 
that the ornaments Rubric of our day prescribes the ornaments of the first book. He 
may have done so ; but the evidence is not forthcoming. Writers may have confused 
the Archbishop with the Archdeacon. 

4 Ferdinando Warner, An illustration of the Book of Common-Prayer, London, 
Hodges, 1754. Sheet D. leaf i. verso, note f. Ct. Nicholls above, on p. 355. 


in manuscript, suggests strictly legal visitation articles, with the 
purpose of pointing out to what extremities they would lead. 

A short Trial of the Expediency of some Articles of Enquiry -, when 
carried up to the rigor of the Law. 1 

# * * 

1 8. Doth he precisely observe the Canonical Habit, as enjoined by 
Canon and Rubric, without omitting any? for instance, the Surplice, 
Band, White- Alb with a Cope, or an Alb with a Tunacle ? 2 

The writer is probably a Latitudinarian who wanted to gain 
" Liberty " ; and to this end to frighten average clergymen by 
pointing out their numerous transgressions of the law. 

Burn, the well-known writer on Church law, quotes the orna 
ments rubric of Charles the Second, and as explanation gives in 
full the rubric of the first book of Edward the Sixth touching the 
white albe plain, vestment or cope, and tunicles for the ministers at 
the holy Communion. 3 

In 1783 Dr. Luke Heslop, the Archdeacon of Buckingham, 
allowed among the church Vestments and Ornaments of Bledlow 
an alb. 4 It was in use, as the churchwarden's accounts note the 
payment for its washing. This could only have been allowed if 
the legality of the ornaments of the first book of King Edward 
be pre-supposed. 

Dr. John Randolph, afterwards Bishop of London, delivered a 
course of lectures in 1784 when Regius Professor of Divinity 
at Oxford, in one of which he deals with the interpretation of the 
ornaments rubric. 

We have had occasion before to take notice of the disputes about the 
ornaments and habits of ministers. The Rubric restrains the Church to 
a moderate use of them ; it refers to an Act of Parliament, 2. Edward VI., 
which establishes those prescribed in the first liturgy of Edward VI. 5 

The Professor passes on to enumerate the ornaments of the 

1 British Museum, Add. MS. 5370, fo. 128. The word Expediency is dotted under 

2 ibid. p. 135 b. 

:< Richard Burn, Ecclesiastical Law, London, 1763, vol. i. p. 680, under Lord's 

4 No. 17 in the Inventory of Bledlow published in the Transactions of the St. Paul's 
Ecclesiological Society, 1905, vol. v. p. 235. See Appendix to ch. v. p. 160. 

5 John Randolph, A Course of Lectures delivered to Candidates for Holy Orders, ed. 
Thomas Randolph, London, Rivingtons, 1870, vol. iii. p. 293. Lecture xxxiii. at end. 
The Lecture is also reprinted in Three Lectures on the Book of Common Prayer, Riving 
tons, 1869, p. 19. 


rubric, leaving out the word vestment before cope ; and he adds 
that, though restored by the rubric, they are now fallen into disuse. 

Thomas Pruen, in his enumeration of the Ornaments of the 
Ministers, includes the Cope and Alb, with Tunicles for those that 
assist ; but he does not mention the vestment, perhaps thinking 
that it was identical with the cope. The pastoral staff, he says, is 
now grown out of use. 1 

A writer of the first third of the nineteenth century, who does 
not give his name, but had plainly been bred to the law, speaking 
of the lawful ornaments of the minister, mentions the theory that 
Queen Elizabeth had taken other order ; but he rejects it. 

If she had taken such order, yet the Rubric before morning-prayer 
in our present Liturgy, enforced by the act of Uniformity, i4th Charles II., 
could not be affected by any order taken by Queen Elizabeth : therefore 
Gibson truly says, " Legally ', the ornaments of ministers in performing 
divine service are the same now as they were in the 2d of Edward VI. 
Code, p. 363 " ; yet he marks this Rubric of Edward VI. as obsolete, p. 
472. He does not so mark the Rubric of our present Liturgy, p. 363, and 
it is certain they are both in force, or neither of them are so. 2 

Of the authors quoted above it will be seen that only Dr. 
Bennet and Dr. Sharp express an opinion against the Ornaments 
of King Edward's first book. And even this opinion is so worded 
as not to declare that these ornaments are illegal, but to protect 
from attack by reason of long desuetude any beneficed clergymen 
who did not wear them. But it may be remarked, as Dr. A. J. 
Stephens has observed, that neither "the governors in the Church " 
nor " usage " can supersede the positive enactments of the Statute 
Law. 3 So that the reasons given for the opinion of both these 
writers must be disallowed. 

With the exception of these two, during the eighteenth century 
all the authors, who speak on this point (and names of great author 
ity are to be found among them), suggest that the ornaments of 
Edward the Sixth's first book are the legal ornaments of the minister. 
The tradition of the eighteenth century is then in favour of the 
Edwardine Ornaments. In fact, whenever men have taken the 
trouble to investigate the subject with care and without prejudice, 
they have usually come to the same result. Of this Dr. A. J. 

1 Thomas Pruen, Illustration of the Liturgy of the Church of England as to its 
daily service, London, Rivingtons, 1820, vol. i. p. 205. 

a London Parishes, London, Jeffrey, 1824, p. 14. 

3 The Book of Common Prayer, ed. A. J. Stephens, Ecclesiastical History Society, 
London, Harrison, 1849, vol. i. p. 368. 


Stephens in his early days and the Committee of the Privy Council 
in Westerton v. Liddell may be examples. 

That the Ornaments Rubric directed the use of the ornaments 
of the first book of Edward the Sixth may be claimed as the 
general opinion of the Church of England during the whole of the 
eighteenth century and the first third of the nineteenth. 

This being the case, it will be interesting to inquire how the 
churchmen of our period carried their opinions out in practice. It 
must be owned that in practice they followed their opinions but 
little. The ornaments of which we have evidence as in general use 
are the Surplice and the Hood, and, for dignified clergymen, the 
Scarf. Nor judging from the Bishops' visitation articles of the 
seventeenth century have we much evidence that they attempted 
immediately after 1662 to enforce the use of any ornaments but 
the surplice and hood. An attempt to explain this apparent in 
consistency may be made in this way. The first book of Edward 
contains two rubrics touching vestments : one, at the beginning of 
the Supper of the Lorde and the holy Communion, and another, on 
the last leaf of the book, beginning Certayne Notes. This latter, 
Certayne Notes, has been taken as expressing the whole mind of the 
book, ordering only surplice and hood, no notice being taken of the 
rubric before the Eucharist which prescribes other vestments. This 
mistake was made by no less authorities than Bingham, 1 John 
Johnson, and others. 2 What wonder, then, if the same mistake 
should have been made in less careful quarters ? They did not 
enforce the rubric before the Eucharist, which begins Upon the day 
and the time, that orders the white alb and vestment or cope, prob 
ably because it was not known. 

If the disuse of the Edwardine ornaments were the only instance 
of a disregard of the Act of Uniformity by the clergy of our period, 
or of the absence of any attempt by the Bishops to enforce all the 
rubrics, some support, perhaps, might be given to a theory that has 
been broached that this very disregard is proof that these orna 
ments were illegal. But the disregard of other rubrics besides the 
Ornaments Rubric was widespread, as also the absence of attempts 
by the Bishops to enforce them. For example, the rubric before 
the Prayer for the Church Militant plainly directed that the Priest 
should place upon the Holy Table, after the presentation of the 
alms, so much Bread and Wine as he should think sufficient. This 

1 See above, p. 354. 2 See above, p. 355. 


rubric was new in 1662. How was it obeyed during our period, 
up to 1833? 

Then after the Nicene Creed, the Curate is to declare to the 
people what fasting days are in the week following to be observed. 
During our period how often was this rubric observed ? 

Also in cathedral and collegiate churches, the rubric at the end 
of the communion service directs that " they shall all receive the 
Communion with the Priest every Sunday at the least ". Was this 
rubric universally kept ? 

And on any reading of the Ornaments Rubric, the celebrant is 
to wear a cope at the Eucharist in cathedral churches. Did not the 
cathedral clergy openly disregard this law, as at Durham, 1 even 
when the copes were provided for them ? 

Yet another instance of the disregard of rubrics. The persons 
to be married are told to come into the body of the church ; and 
when the important part of the rite is over, a procession from the 
body of the church up to the Lord's Table is to be made, the priest 
and clerks singing the psalm that is directed. How many instances 
during our period are on record in which these plain directions were 
observed ? All the evidence we have points to the whole of the 
service having been said at the Communion rail. And the accus 
tomed duty to the Priest and Clerk, was this always demanded with 
the ring ? 

Though the neglect of daily service in our period was nothing 
so great as some have represented, yet towards the end of the eigh 
teenth century under the influence of the evangelical Calvinistic 
clergy, the neglect became very widespread, and yet there was 
Order for Morning Prayer daily throughout the year visible at the 
beginning of the Prayer Book. Immediately after the Restoration, 
and while the Act of 1662 was still new, we have the astounding 
revelations by a Student of the Inns of Court of the licence of the 
London Clergy in conducting the services of the Book of Common 
Prayer. They are hardly credible, even by those who have lived 
in these days of anomia? 

These instances may suffice to give some idea of the trouble 
there is to persuade Clergymen of the Church of England, of all 
schools, to keep the rules of the Communion of which they are 
officers. At the end of the nineteenth century I have known them 
resent, as highly injurious, the suggestion that as soon as they put 

1 See below, p. 372. * See above, Appendix to chapter iv. p. 112. 


on the surplice they ceased to be their own masters and became the 
servants of the Church. This self-evident truth was the opinion 
of the early Tractarians, between 1833 and 1863, an opinion which 
they tried to put into practice. And how was it received ? They 
were scolded for trying to revive " obsolete rubrics ". 


It seems very dubious if it can be proved that there are in the 
Church any such things as Eucharistic Vestments. A claim has 
been made for the chasuble that it is par excellence the Eucharistic 
vestment, only worn at the Eucharist, and worn only by the cele 
brant, universally throughout the East and West. This doctrine 
was, some fifty years ago, much insisted upon in certain Church 
newspapers, and the Chasuble for the Eucharist was held up as 
what we may call the Vincentian vestment, following the rule quod 
ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus} This notion that there is a 
distinctive vestment for the Eucharist is still widely spread in the 
Church of Rome, and there are some few traces of it in the Church 
of England in our period. For example, Mr. Christopher Words 
worth, the Subdean of the Church of Salisbury, has recorded a 
curious statement of fact concerning the practice of Dr. Theophilus 
Leigh, the Master of Balliol College. It occurs as an additional 
note on the last page of Social Life at the Universities after the 
index and below the errata. It is as follows : 

Mr. Wright, who was elected fellow of Balliol in 1784, has left on 
record that the Master of his college, Dr. Theophilus Leigh, not only bowed 
to the Altar on entering and leaving the college chapel ; but at his country 
living of Huntspill (1767-1785), dio. Bath and Wells, he always wore a 
distinctive vestment at Holy Communion, for he was a constant resident at 
his rectory in vacation time. 2 

We have no information given us what the distinctive vestment 
was. But while Dr. Theophilus Leigh was Master of Balliol, in 1783 

1 And yet some ot these writers were students of the oriental Liturgies and must 
have known that not only was the cope worn at the Liturgy in certain oriental rites, 
but that the Russian Bishops and Greek Metropolitans did not wear the chasuble at 
all. " In place of the chasuble Greek metropolitans and all Russian bishops wear the 
Sakkos (ffaKKos, Slav, sakkos), a loose-sleeved tunic, identical in form with the western 
dalmatic." (F. E. Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western, Oxford, 1896, vol. i. 
p. 592, Glossary of technical terms, sub voce Vestments.) 

2 Christopher Wordsworth, Social Life at the English Universities in the eighteenth 
century, Cambridge, Deighton Bell & Co. 1874, p. 728, on the very last page of the 
book after the Errata. Cf. Guardian, July 22, 1874, p. 947, col. iii. 


there was in use in the parish church of Bledlow an alb, and it is 
known to have been in use, for there are charges in the Church 
wardens' accounts for washing it. 1 At this time one John Davey 
held the living of Bledlow: he took the degree of M.A. from 
Balliol College in May 1757, and he must have been the parson of 
Bledlow in 1773 for he signs a church rate in that year. He suc 
ceeded Dr. Theophilus Leigh as Master of Balliol in 1785. 

At this time, under Dr. Theophilus Leigh, Balliol College was 
" a stronghold of Jacobites ". 2 Now Jacobites were not far apart 
from Nonjurors and High Churchmen ; and some influence, not 
unconnected with Balliol, may have led Dr. Theophilus Leigh 
to wear a distinctive vestment at the Eucharist, and the Parson of 
Bledlow to assume an alb. 

The prevailing doctrine in some quarters is that the chasuble 
is the distinctive Eucharistic vestment. With this notion Pater 
Braun and many Roman Catholic writers agree. Pater Braun 
lightly puts aside the cases in which the chasuble is worn by other 
than the celebrant, or at an office other than the mass. 3 But these 
cases cannot be wholly disregarded. They must be reckoned with. 
They are numerous and important, enough to destroy the common 
opinion. For Monseigneur Barbier de Montault, while holding 
that the chasuble is the priestly vestment without which mass may 
not be said in the Church of Rome, yet gives a convenient list of 
many cases in which the chasuble must be worn outside mass if 
the advice of the Sacred Congregation of Rites is to be followed. 4 
The first instance given by this writer is from the Caeremoniale 
Episcopomm, a work of first-rate authority, in which the direction 
occurs that when the Bishop himself celebrates vespers, the canons 
who are priests wear chasubles. 5 Further, on Ash Wednesday the 
canon who gives ashes to the Bishop is to wear a chasuble and not 
a cope. In solemn processions, regulars wear chasubles. And 
there are other instances, besides these, not a few, nor of rare oc 

It is thus hardly possible to maintain the proposition that the 
chasuble is limited to the mass, and is never worn but at mass. 

1 Transactions of the St. Paul's Ecdesiological Society, 1905, vol. v. p. 235. 
3 J. H. Overton, The Nonjurors, London, 1902, p. 342. 

3 Joseph Braun, Die liturgische Gewandung, Herder, 1907, p. 149. 

4 X. Barbier de Montault, Le Costume et les Usages ecclesiastiques selon la tradi 
tion romaine, Paris, Letouzey, no date, t. ii. p. 82. 

5 Caeremoniale Episcoporum, Lib. I. cap. xv. Colon. Agripp. 1688, p. 78. 


Still less can it be held that at mass it is the celebrant only 
who wears the chasuble. 

There is the striking instance of the deacon and subdeacon who 
during the penitential seasons, such as Advent, Lent, and Ember 
Days, wear chasubles at the Mass ; they are folded slightly in front 
and go by the name Q{ planeta plicata} 

Again, if a canon assisting at the solemn vespers celebrated 
by a bishop be not a priest, he is to wear a chasuble when his 
fellow canons who are priests wear chasubles. This is noteworthy, 
for here we have the chasuble worn by one who is not a priest, and 
not necessarily in holy orders, during a function which is not Mass.' 2 

It will hardly be maintained that according to the modern use 
of the church of Rome, the chasuble is restricted either to the 
Eucharist, or to the celebrant, and it was still less so in times 
before the Council of Trent. 

But, dealing with the case in hand, if we be allowed to 
make a guess, it seems more likely that Dr. Theophilus Leigh's 
distinctive vestment was a cope rather than a chasuble. In 
the first place there is the Anglican tradition in favour of the cope, 
and the use of that vestment in some of the Oxford colleges during 
our period. Then the cope is worn at the Eucharist in the East by 
the Armenians, and the Armenian vestment is thus spoken of by 
Pierre Le Brun, the well-known French liturgist, as " la Chas 
uble en forme de Chape," 3 which is a clever way of admitting that, 
after all, it is only a cope. It has been pointed out in these pages 
already that the East had great influence with the Dissenting 
Nonjurors, and the Established Clergy at the same time. At 
Manchester, Thomas Percival taunts the clergy of the Collegiate 
Church with a wish to borrow of the Armenians " the noble and 
grand Habits of the Priests ". 4 

Speaking of the Armenian and Syrian rites, Monseigneur Bar- 
bier de Montault, who is of the strictest Ultramontane orthodoxy, 
remarks that the priest in them celebrates with a sort of cope which 
is nothing else than the primitive chasuble, covering the whole body 
and slit up in front to allow free movements. The Latin Church, 

1 Missale Rontanum, Rubricae generales, cap. xix. 6. 
2 X. Barbier de Montault, op. cit. p. 82. 

3 Pierre le Brun, Explication dc la Messe, Paris, Valade, 1778, t. v. p. 75, x. Diss. 
Art. ix. 

4 [Thomas Percival,] Letter to the . . . Clergy of . . . Manchester, London, 1748, 
p. 24. 


he adds, rather maliciously, has slit the chasuble up along the 
sides. 1 

But this Armenian cope-chasuble is not altogether unlike the 
chasuble as worn in other Eastern Rites. Mr. Brightman describes 
it as follows, under the word chasuble as : 

The supervestment of priests : in form a semicircle of material put on 
like a western cope and sewn up the front, thus enveloping the person and 
requiring to be drawn up over the arms to allow of action. The Greek 
chasuble is still in this form, slightly shortened in front, and provided with 
buttons &c. by means of which the front can be folded and held up so as 
to leave the arms free. ... In Russia the front is generally cut out, leav 
ing a fall of about nine inches from the neck. In all other oriental rites 
the chasuble has been opened down the front and is only fastened on the 
breast, becoming in effect a western cope. 2 

Similar changes in the early middle ages had taken place in the 
West, the chasuble approaching the cope in outline, so that at first 
sight it may be taken for a cope. It is square behind, descending 
to the feet, and the front part so much cut away that only a narrow 
band of stuff remains. Such kind of cope-chasubles may be seen 
in illuminations in pre-Norman manuscripts. 

These appearances lead one to ask the question what is the re 
lation of the cope to the chasuble ? Is the cope only a chasuble slit 
up in the front for the convenience of the wearer? Or is the chas 
uble a cope which has been sewn together in front so as to en 
velop completely the whole body ? That the chasuble and cope are 
closely allied no one is likely to deny who has paid any atten 
tion to mediaeval antiquities. If we were to classify the two 
vestments in the same way as naturalists classify plants and animals 
we should certainly place them both in the same genus, possibly in 
the same species, one being then related to the other as a variety. 
The chasuble, being one of the most ancient of the liturgical vestments 
and common to all the clergy, even to acolytes, as Ordo Romanus 
Primus testifies, 3 may very likely indeed be the source of the cope, 
which appears so much later in history than the chasuble. The 
many points of resemblance which the two vestments have to one 
another would thus be explained. 

1 X. Barbier de Montault, Le Costume et les Usages Ecclcsiastiques selon la tradition 
romaine, Paris, Letouzey, no date, t. ii. p. 92. 

2 F. E. Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western, Oxford, 1896, vol. i. Glossary 
of Technical Terms, sub voce Vestments, p. 592. 

3 Ex praecepto archidiaconi super planetam acolythi . . . duobus acolythis super 
planetas tenentibus parat evangelium. (I. Mabillon, Musei Italici torn. II. Lut. Paris. 
Montalant, 1724, p. 6. 


In the common speech of England the two vestments were not 
well distinguished. In the fifteenth century it is said that the priest 
at the end of mass doth off " his Masse-Cope "- 1 In the sixteenth 
century Machyn in his Diary tells of a priest being caught saying 
mass in a cope. 2 Sir Thomas More also speaks of those who did 
not care " whyther the prieste saye Masse in his gowne or in hys 
cope". 3 

In the seventeenth century a dictionary maker defines as 
follows : 

a chasuble, a fashion of cope thats open onely in the sides ; and is worne 
at Masse both by the Priest (who hath it round) and his assistant Deacon, 
and Subdeacon, who have it square, in the bottome. 4 

In the eighteenth century, Wheatly thinks that tunicles are 
shaped like copes. 

The priests and deacons that assist the minister in the distribution of 
the elements, instead of copes, are to wear tunicles, 'which Durand describes 
to have been a silk sky-coloured coat made in the shape of a cope. 5 

An antiquary, writing in the first half of the same century as 
Wheatly, thinks a chasuble is called a tunicle as well as by its own 
proper name. He quotes with approval Cotgrave calling it " a fashion 
of cope". 

Chesible, called sometimes a Planet. It was called a Chesible or Chas 
uble, from the Latin Casula, and is thus described by Cotgrave [then 
comes the quotation from Cotgrave just given]. It seems to have been 
called likewise a Tunicle, since by that Name our Bishop Christoferson calls 
the uppermost Garment which the Priest putteth upon him last of all. 6 

The last sentence, defining chasuble as an uppermost garment, 
seems to be exact while the rest is somewhat confused. 

And not only Englishmen in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, but a Frenchman in the twentieth, may mistake a 
chasuble for a cope. In an account of a private mass celebrated 
by Leo the Thirteenth, we read in the Paris Figaro : 

1 Minor Poems of the Vernon MS. E.E.T.S. 1892, p. 349, cap. xxxvii. line 773. 

2 The Diary of Henry Machyn, Camden Society, 1848, p. 291, " a priest with a cope, 
taken sayhyng of masse in Feyter lane ". September 8, 1562. 

3 Thomas More, Workes, London, Cawod, etc. 1557, p.